New President announces Diploma in Tax Technology in response to changes in tax work

The new President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), Susan Ball, will today announce that the Institute is to launch a Diploma in Tax Technology, responding to the impact that technology is having on the work of tax professionals.

Susan is a tax partner at RSM UK, specialising in employment tax, and a former chair of the Institute’s Suffolk branch. She will take over from Peter Rayney as CIOT President at the Institute’s annual general meeting later today.

In her inaugural speech as CIOT President, Susan will tell members that the Institute has important work to do in relation to three big ongoing changes – the advance of technology, internationalisation and combating climate change – to ensure it remains relevant and delivers on its public benefit obligations.

She will also:

  • Call on the Government to make progress on issues around employment status, and aligning national insurance paid by the employed and self-employed
  • Say that any moves towards greater regulation of the tax profession should build on the good work already being done by professional bodies
  • Express concern about the ongoing difficulties both advisers and taxpayers have getting timely responses and action from HMRC
  • Say that while temporary, unplanned taxes are generally undesirable, the exceptional cost of living crisis means that measures such as the windfall tax can be justified
  • Offer congratulations to the Queen during the week of her Platinum Jubilee

In addition to Susan Ball becoming President, Gary Ashford today becomes Deputy President and Charlotte Barbour Vice President of CIOT.

On technology, Susan will say:

“This means not just thinking about how we provide our services but about how technology will change how our members work and what kind of tax system they are advising on.

“That’s why an Institute Working Party has developed a syllabus for a new Diploma in Tax Technology. This qualification is aimed at both existing tax professionals who wish to enhance their awareness of tax technology, and at those outside the profession who might wish to work in this area. We aim to launch this new qualification by the end of the year.

“And it’s also why our technical committees and Low Incomes Tax Reform Group are looking closely at HMRC’s plans for digitalisation and use of data. Of course, if technology can make HMRC more efficient that is a good thing, but there must be safeguards. Taxpayers who struggle with accessing services online must be protected. And those who wish to have an agent act for them must be able to retain that right in a digital world.”

On climate change, Susan will say:

“First it means looking to our own actions, making sure we embed environmental awareness into our culture and practice, and, working with an external consultancy, we’ve already begun doing just that.

“But it also means thinking about the role of tax in tackling climate change. That’s why we set up our Climate Change Working Group, why we published our Climate Change Tax Policy Road Map last year, and why we held two separate debates last year exploring the role of tax in getting to net zero. We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we can act as a gathering point for debate and provide a tax practitioner perspective on how different kinds of carbon pricing and other green incentives can be implemented effectively.”

On internationalisation, Susan will say that:

“[J]ust as tax authorities are working together so it makes sense for us to join with tax bodies elsewhere in the world – learning, sharing best practice. We continue to be one of the most active members of CFE Tax Advisers Europe. And we are continuing to build the international CTA community, announcing just two weeks ago the addition of the South African Institute of Taxation to the ranks of those bodies we license to use the designation Chartered Tax Adviser, recognising that, in their jurisdiction, they offer a standard of professional excellence equivalent to our own.

“We also, of course, continue to grow our ADIT qualification, now being studied in around 120 countries by tax professionals keen to obtain the world’s leading qualification in international tax.”

On the cost of living crisis, Susan will say:

“Last week’s announcement of a temporary windfall tax on oil and gas companies will jar with some in the tax profession. We prefer our tax policy planned, stable and consulted on. But with inflation at nine per cent and rising, and energy bills expected to double in just six months, these are exceptional times. And I think they justify exceptional measures.

“The Institute is of course carefully politically neutral, but we do seek to enable debate and help policy-makers understand the practical implications of policies they are considering. So at the autumn party conferences, when we join once again with IFS, the subject of our debates will be the role of tax in tackling the cost-of-living crisis.”

On employment taxes, Susan will note the lack of an Employment Bill in the recent Queen’s Speech and say:

“It is now nearly five years since Matthew Taylor’s Good Work report recommended that the level of NIC paid by employees and self-employed people should be moved closer together. More recently the House of Lords expressed concerns on the lack of clarity around determining status. It is time we made progress on some of these matters.”

On regulation, Susan will say:

“The Government are considering various options for raising standards within the profession. We understand there will be a further consultation in the summer.

“Our position is clear. Rather than creating a costly new government regulator, the most effective way forward in this area would be to build on the good work already being done by professional bodies such as CIOT.

“Our PCRT rules already protect taxpayers and make clear that there is no place in the tax profession for those who devise, promote, or sell tax avoidance schemes.”

On HMRC service levels, Susan will say:

“[W]e continue to be concerned about the difficulties both advisers and taxpayers face getting timely responses and action from HMRC.

“While we have seen improvements in recent months, targets have been missed and problems persist. We are looking at ways in which HMRC’s processes and service levels might be improved and will be asking for your views on a range of ideas, including how taxpayers and agents could be allowed to do more themselves, thus easing the pressure on HMRC’s resources.”

On Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Susan will praise her hard work and dedication, adding:

“All of us at CIOT offer her our hearty congratulations on this amazing achievement.”