AAT can reveal that 82 per cent of MPs agree that anyone employed to deliver tax and accountancy services should be professionally qualified.
This data comes from new research by YouGov and follows HMRC research published last year which revealed that 82 per cent of unregulated and unaffiliated tax agents are not qualified.
Unregulated high street accountants and tax advisers do not belong to professional bodies and therefore are not required to be properly qualified. The issue means that these unregulated accountants are providing advice and accountancy services to businesses without having any relevant qualifications – jeopardising the delivery of services such as budgeting, tax returns and payroll for their customers or employers.
Two-thirds of agent related complaints to HMRC are about the one third of agents who are unregulated. There is also a cost to the taxpayer, not just because of poor advice but due to tax evasion, egregious avoidance and money laundering.
The key findings from the YouGov research commissioned by AAT include:
- 82% of MPs believe anyone giving paid-for tax and accountancy services should be appropriately qualified
- 8% neither agreed or disagreed
- 7% answered “don’t know”
- 2% disagreed
Adam Harper, AAT Director of Professional Standards and Policy said, “It’s great that 8 out of 10 MPs agree with AAT that anyone offering paid-for tax and accountancy services should be appropriately qualified – but we now need this agreement to translate into action.
“If the government is genuinely concerned about consumer protection, saving the taxpayer money and raising standards in the tax advice market, then it needs to compel tax advisers and accountants to join one of the many relevant accountancy or tax professional bodies in the same way that membership is required in over 200 other professions in the UK.”