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Tax avoidance schemes should be ‘stamped out’, says CIOT president

The new president of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), Peter Rayney, has said that there is “no place” in the profession for those who promote or sell tax avoidance schemes. 

Rayney, who made the statement at his inaugural speech on 17 November, said that tax avoidance schemes should be “stamped out” in order to protect the reputation of those in the industry. 

Under his new presidency, Rayney now advises that the best approach to guaranteeing high standards in the tax advice market is to “work through professional bodies”.

The comment follows a report released by the HMRC last week in which they admitted that the market for tax advice “does not always work as well as it should”.

Rayney said: “If the government is to be effective in tackling those who devise and promote tax avoidance schemes then it needs to take account of the fact that these enablers are not tax agents at all and do not present themselves as advisers. Any attempted remedy which aims itself solely at advisers will miss its target.

“The proposals for tackling promoters are welcome. The aim must be to stamp out the activities of those who push avoidance schemes, while not making life harder for the compliant majority of advisers who play a vital role in the proper running of the tax system.”

He added: “We are clear, this is an issue not just of revenue protection, but of consumer protection, and of the reputation of our profession. 

“We look forward to continuing to work with HMRC, as well as with our friends and colleagues in the other professional bodies, to proactively pursue this agenda, as the public interest demands.”

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