New ATT chief drives for higher standards

Welcome to World Cup week and a well-earned break from the Big Four. But we’re sticking with accounting matters here at Daily Insight.

Sussex tax practitioner Tracy Easman has taken on the president role at the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT). Her aim is to extend the association’s  high-standards ethos to across the tax field. She will also carry the fight to those who promote tax avoidance schemes.

The ATT’s leadership team was announced at its agm last week. It is:

  • President – Tracy Easman.
  • Deputy President – Jeremy Coker.
  • Vice President – Richard Todd.

Tracy  joined the ATT’s governing council in 2011 and is a former chair of the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) / Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) joint professional standards committee.

Professional standards

Tracy says: “A subject always close to my heart is professional standards. I will push for the high standards our members must meet to be extended to all of those who work in tax.

“It is to be hoped that the professional conduct in relation to taxation (PCRT) which the ATT worked on with six other leading UK tax and accountancy bodies, is seen as guiding the principles and standards of behaviour of not only our members and students but all tax professionals.

“It makes it clear to any of the small minority of tax professionals who are tempted to facilitate and promote tax avoidance schemes that this behaviour is not acceptable.”

PCRT sets out the principles and standards of behaviour that all ATT members and students must follow in their tax work. The latest version came into effect in March 2017. The government has supported the professional bodies in updating PCRT, with HMRC acknowledging that the guidance sets out an acceptable basis for dealings between members of the bodies and HMRC.

Principles and guidance

The ATT is committed to high standards of tax practice. The ATT and the CIOT’s professional rules and practice guidelines (PRPG) set out the fundamental principles and guidance with which their respective members must comply and helps members handle challenges encountered in their professional work. This is reviewed and updated on a regular basis to take account of changes in professional practices and member feedback.

Tracy adds: “The next 12 months will see even more changes for us all with Making Tax Digital and Brexit. They will both bring their own idiosyncrasies to our lives in tax and it is vital that we embrace the changes as tax professionals.

Already far too complicated

“In turn, I do ask the government to be brave and consider the need to ease the understanding and use of our tax system. Changes which create more complication to our already far too complicated tax regime will not add anything for HMRC, the taxpaying public or those of us in the agent community.

“Engagement with our colleagues will be more important than ever in the next 12 months, whether it be with our fellow professional bodies, Ministers, HMRC and the Treasury.

“I hope we can work together to ensure our tax system is more manageable for us all, that we all continue to work within the high standards our professional bodies set for us and extend these standards to all who advise and help the public with their tax affairs.”

Tracy is a former secretary of the ATT/CIOT Sussex branch. She was chair of the branch from 2013-2015. She became a member of the ATT in 1993 and was appointed a fellow in 2012. She qualified as a chartered tax adviser in 2000. Tracy started her career with the Inland Revenue and has worked for two tax consultancy firms. She now runs her own practice in West Sussex.

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Ian Moss

Ian Moss is the Editor of Accounting Insight News. He's been a journalist since leaving university and has worked for the Daily Mirror and Financial Times, among other media groups. Likes running, guitar, golf, dog-walking.

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