The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) is an educational charity and has a much wider brief than just the promotion of the interests of its members.
The Chartered Institute of Taxation works very hard to ensure that the qualification of Chartered Tax Adviser represents an assurance of high technical and professional standards, with the objective that consumers of tax advice prefer to use a CTA. The CIOT see this as initiating a virtuous circle, whereby membership of the Chartered Institute of Taxation is increasingly perceived as essential by tax advisers and their employers.
As part of the wider picture, the CIOT's Technical Committee co-ordinates the pro bono efforts of over 250 volunteers from the tax profession with the sole purpose of promoting better tax law and smoother operational procedures in its implementation. As intermediaries between tax authority and taxpayer, we are in an ideal position to appreciate the 'pinch points' in the tax system.
To this end, the Chartered Institute of Taxation's members provide thousands of voluntary hours every year: for instance the Technical Committee is invited to comment on Government papers and draft legislation and guidance, considered all of them and responded to the vast majority. The CIOT initiates proactive papers and requests for clarification and attended literally hundreds of meetings with representatives from the HMRC and HM Treasury.
The Chartered Institute of Taxation feels that we have a great deal to offer Government because of our closeness to all sizes of business and all types of taxpayer. It is our objective to be the preferred tax consultation body for regulators and administrators. Legislation frequently appears in a significantly different light when seen from the point of view of the business trying to achieve its commercial objectives, or the pensioner trying to make sense of his obligations and entitlements.
It is in everyone's interests to have well-constructed and workable tax legislation, and the Chartered Institute of Taxation has a role to play as the catalyst of well-informed public debate. The CIOT provide briefing notes to MPs, but on an entirely, and strictly observed, apolitical basis. We take a particular interest in how tax law impacts on those on low incomes, who cannot afford professional advice, through the activities of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group. In addition to its technical work, the Group has created opportunities for tax professionals to contribute thousands of pro bono hours to support socially excluded groups in society.
Finally, the Chartered Institute of Taxation has a contribution to make to the success of the UK economy in an era of global tax competition. The CIOT has active links with the Confédération Fiscale Européenne, with the EC Commission and with the OECD.
Tax professionals are calling on the Government to provide additional safeguards around their proposals for direct recovery of tax debt.
Government’s proposal to allow HMRC to bypass the courts in order to collect tax and tax credit debt it assesses to be due would be contrary to the rule of law and would inflict disproportionate financial and human cost on vulnerable taxpayers.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has again qualified HMRC’s accounts because of the levels of ‘error and fraud’ in tax credits.
The LITRG cautions that even if you no longer want to claim or think you are no longer entitled, if you have claimed tax credits at all during the 2013/14 tax year you will still be included in the renewal exercise.
Covering a broad range of issues in her address to the Association of Taxation Technicians AGM, President Natalie Miller laid particular emphasis on the increase in student numbers.