Name and shame tax advisers

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HMRC wants to name and shame tax advisers - Accountancy Age

The Age reports:

The taxman wants to name and shame tax advisers if they help clients duck tax.

Around £25m a year is lost through deliberate contrivance by advisers to conceal client assets or by other failure to give an accurate picture of the taxpayers' circumstances, an HM Revenue & Customs source said.

The name and shame could be appealed to an independent tribunal, and no publication would be possible until all appeals opportunities were concluded or expired.

"It's only fair to extend that to advisers and publish their names and trading addresses," an HMRC source warned.

The scheme would be stricter for advisers, in that if found to have acted improperly, advisers names would be published no matter how small the amount of tax involved.

It will publish the names of people who have evaded more than £25,000 of tax from April 2011, and HM Revenue & Customs now wants has now wants errant advisers to face the same fate.

Excellent.

Bring on a Code of Conduct for tax advisers I see.

And weed out the crooks.

But the profession does not buy it:

Anne Redston, visiting professor at Kings College, London, said that the taxman would have to be "very, very careful" about the facts surrounding an adviser and their client before naming and shaming.

"It all depends on what HMRC has in mind, but they should bear in mind that an advisers' reputation could be seriously damaged – we have very strong libel laws in the UK."

Yeh, yeh. When tax evasion is proven the adviser has to show why they did not know.

And I speak as someone who has been practicing as an accountant for over 25 years now.