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CIOT: HMRC shifting of admin costs is ‘stealth tax’ on taxpayers

HMRC shifting of admin costs is ‘stealth tax’ on taxpayers

Outgoing President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), Anthony Thomas, will today say:

Cost –shifting from tax authorities to taxpayers amounts to a ‘stealth tax’
It is important for the tax profession to continue to challenge HMRC
HMRC must be properly resourced to safeguard the UK ‘moneybox’

Anthony Thomas will make the remarks in his valedictory speech at the CIOT’s annual general meeting in Westminster at 4pm today, before he steps down to be succeeded by Patrick Stevens.

Anthony Thomas will say:

On Restoring Trust

“The theme for my year as President has been "Restoring Trust"; that is trust between HMRC, the professions, notably our Institute, and taxpayers... It is absolutely essential that HMRC be perceived as fair and even-handed.”

Anthony Thomas will say that progress has been made and the need for trust now features regularly in conversations – but that there is still a long way to go.

On Tax Avoidance

“Deliberate obfuscation of the important distinction between avoidance and evasion undermine[s] trust.”

Anthony Thomas will reiterate the CIOT stance that HMRC needs to get a better balance between tackling avoidance and tackling evasion – which again has seen progress during the year.

On Cost Shifting

“[T]here is little point in HMRC achieving cost savings if this involves greater costs, in aggregate, for taxpayers... cost shifting... is effectively another "stealth tax". There is a distinct possibility that this will be the result of the Real Time Information system currently being piloted, particularly for smaller businesses and tax practices around the country.”

On Standing Up To HMRC

“[I]t is important to continue to challenge HMRC... Doing the right thing will include continuing to be upfront about HMRC's failings and not gloss over them in the hope of an easier relationship...

“Continue to voice concern at the highest level that only a properly funded and resourced HMRC is capable of safeguarding the UK "moneybox" in a way which allows them time to treat citizens with respect. The Revenue department must never be put at risk and the current culture of fiscal compliance can only be retained by properly trained staff which includes being properly funded.

“We must continue to be outspoken and critical when attempts by the profession to impress upon HMRC the value of slowing down the implementation of their proposals in order to give proper consideration to their impact are simply ignored or result in HMRC speeding things up.”

Notes to editors

The full text of Anthony Thomas’s remarks is available on request.

A press release on incoming President Patrick Stevens’ AGM speech will be circulated later today.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) is a charity and the leading professional body in the United Kingdom concerned solely with taxation. The CIOT’s primary purpose is to promote education and study of the administration and practice of taxation. One of the key aims is to achieve a better, more efficient, tax system for all affected by it – taxpayers, advisers and the authorities.

The CIOT’s comments and recommendations on tax issues are made solely in order to achieve its primary purpose: it is politically neutral in its work. The CIOT will seek to draw on its members’ experience in private practice, government, commerce and industry and academia to argue and explain how public policy objectives (to the extent that these are clearly stated or can be discerned) can most effectively be achieved.

The CIOT’s 15,800 members have the practising title of ‘Chartered Tax Adviser’ and the designatory letters ‘CTA’.

- ENDS -

George Crozier
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