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Time to crackdown on unqualified accountants

Currently, there is no legal requirement for a person providing accountancy services to be qualified with an official body, such as the ACCA or ICAEW.

However, it is understood that the Government may crack down on those providing professional advice who are not properly qualified to ensure that businesses receive the best possible support.

High profile campaigns

A survey by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and conducted by YouGov shows that eight out of 10 MPs agree that anyone employed to deliver tax and accountancy services should be professionally qualified.

It follows HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) research published last year which revealed that 82 per cent of unregulated and unaffiliated tax agents are not qualified.

The AAT has previously run high-profile campaigns calling on the Government to make it compulsory for anyone offering tax and accountancy services to be a member of a professional body.

Fears of tax evasion and money laundering

It says those without relevant qualifications are jeopardising the delivery of services such as budgeting, tax returns and payroll for their customers or employers.

HMRC says two-thirds of agent-related complaints to them are about the one-third of agents who are unregulated with a consequent cost to the taxpayer.

This is not just because of poor advice but also due to tax evasion, egregious avoidance and money laundering.

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