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ACCA Endorses HMRC’s Mandate for Tax Agents to Join Professional Bodies

In a significant development, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has thrown its weight behind HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in its decision to exclusively engage with tax agents affiliated with recognised professional bodies. This move, while lauded by ACCA, is contingent upon meticulous execution to yield mutual benefits for taxpayers, agents, and the Exchequer without engendering disproportionate costs or regulatory burdens.

Glenn Collins, Head of Technical and Strategic Engagement at ACCA UK underscored the long-standing need for such a measure, citing persistent issues with certain agents’ unprofessional conduct in their dealings with HMRC. He stressed that this initiative aims to address these concerns effectively.

Collins emphasised that while ACCA members generally welcome the move, it is imperative to ensure cost-effectiveness in its implementation. The overarching objective is to enhance the quality of tax advice accessible to taxpayers while affording HMRC greater confidence and assurance.

Crucially, Collins highlighted the necessity for HMRC to delineate clear criteria for defining professional bodies, focusing on accountability, public benefit remit, and adherence to transparent standards. ACCA pledges its dedicated support to HMRC, advocating for sustained competition and diversity in the tax advisory landscape, all the while ensuring adequate regulatory oversight and taxpayer protection.

Furthermore, ACCA stresses the imperative of preventing an escalation in the cost of tax advisory services, particularly amid prevailing economic challenges. Any increase in costs could exacerbate the financial strain on businesses and individuals already grappling with sluggish economic growth and mounting expenses.

Overall, ACCA views this regulatory move as a potential catalyst for fostering trust and confidence in the tax system, alleviating pressure on HMRC services, and safeguarding taxpayer interests. The organisation looks forward to collaborating closely with HMRC and other professional bodies to ensure the seamless and equitable implementation of this latest regulatory directive.

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