Leading professional bodies involved in taxation have issued a new guide on professional standards. ‘Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation’ aims to help advisers deal with difficult practical situations.

The guidance will help, for example, where there is an irregularity in a client’s tax affairs and the client is reluctant to correct it.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation guide sets out the high ethical standards which should govern the relationship between tax adviser, client and HMRC. It has been prepared jointly with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the Association of Taxation Technicians, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

The guidance has been adopted as best practice by many professional bodies. It is based on the principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behaviour.

Rosalind Upton, chair of the working party which produced the guide, said: “Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation’ gives clear, concise and practical guidance which will help tax advisers when dealing with difficult situations such as what to do when a client refuses to make a full disclosure to HMRC or receives an excessive repayment.” A press release from the Chartered Institute of Taxation is available here.

James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professional Risks says that tax advisers should follow the guidance carefully: “If a tax adviser faces a claim of professional negligence and has not followed published best practice, any defence of the claim may have been fatally compromised. This guide should be required reading for anyone involved in tax advice.