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HMRC has again removed agent status from accountants Christopher Lunn & Co.

HMRC had removed agent status last year but the firm successfully argued during a judicial review that that it had not the opportunity to make representations. It has now made these and so HMRC is permittted to withdraw agent status.

Some 7,000 of the firm's clients are under investigation after enquiries by HMRC into a sample of clients revealed a 98% error rate. The firm acted for clients in the media industries.

Reported in Accountancy Age, Anthony Thomas, President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation said that the case highlighted the need for independent oversight of HMRC's powers to remove agent status."This will become even more urgent if HMRC brings in a system of enrolment, and inevitably disenrolment, of tax agents, as envisaged in its current consultation," he said.

"There needs to be a clear and agreed procedure for dealing with situations like this so that all sides know where they stand," Thomas added.

HMRC is currently consulting on its second version of working with Tax Agents and on a new system of civil penalties in order to deter agents from acting dishonestly.