HMRC's "Standards for agents" are non-statutory and are aimed at all tax agents, largely those tax agents who are not members of any of the professional tax and accountancy bodies. HMRM is now building on safeguards and raising standards in the tax advice market.

HMRC considers that agents have a key role to play in the tax system and their role should be supported.

As a result of years of mass marketing of tax schemes, government reached a conclusion that "there is a minority of incompetent, unprofessional and malicious advisers whose activities harm their clients, reduce public revenue, and undermine the functioning of the tax advice market."

The Independent Loan Charge Review in 2020 made recommendations that the government should improve the market in tax advice and consider establishing ‘a more effective system of oversight, which may include formal regulation, for tax advisers’.

In 2020-21 a series of consulations on Raising the Standards in the Tax market. HMRC's current approach is shown in the tab Tackling poor agent behaviour

Next steps

In 2022 there will be a further consultation exploring options for improving the regulatory framework in the tax advice market, and a definition of tax advice, as well as a consultation on tackling the high cost of claiming tax refunds.

It will:

  • Publish HMRC’s approach to tax agents in a single policy statement, including how to report breaches of the HMRC agent standard
  • Update and promote the Agent Standard
  • Continue to ensure consistency across HMRC in its overall approach to agents
  • Focus HMRC’s efforts to uphold its agent standard on the worst agent behaviours


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