Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Will new UK tax institute boss stop the cosy deals?

Accountancy Age in the UK is carrying an interesting story about the arrival of Anthony Thomas as the new head of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT,) who has made some interesting comments. Some are hostile to HMRC, and he noted that the relationship between the institute and HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, the UK tax authorities) has "never been worse" and that he will focus on building trust. He also said one thing that is, at least on the face of it, welcome. As Accountancy Age reported just ahead of Thomas' speech:
"Thomas will say his goal is to "turn the tide" of the relationship and return to "that healthy tension between HMRC and the tax profession that existed 10 to 20 years ago: no special relationships, no cosy conferences, no favours, deals and understandings; no inside tracks and private access".
It will be interesting to see what this statement will turn out to mean, in light of a culture that has been revealed by the likes of Private Eye magazine, which as dug up large amounts of dirt on sweetheart deals between HMRC and big business. The latest cosy Goldman Sachs tax avoidance deal arranged over a handshake with Dave Hartnett, HMRC's boss, is a case in point - thankfully, this one has led to some political action, it seems.

Perhaps these are words that will be worth quoting back to Thomas in years to come. Let's see.


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