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Tax Charter clause ‘very welcome’

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An enabling clause should give taxpayers a greater stake in the planned Tax Charter.

The draft of the Charter, which sets out the rights and responsibilities of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and taxpayers, has been criticised by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) for having too pronounced an orientation towards HMRC rather than towards taxpayers themselves.

However, the inclusion of an enabling clause in this year’s Finance Bill has gone some way to redressing the balance.

The clause obliges the Charter to include references to the standard of behaviour and the values of HMRC staff.

It also allows the Board of HMRC to develop and review the Charter.

Nick Goulding, the CIOT’s president, said: “This enabling clause is very welcome given the content of the latest consultation document. That appeared to veer away from being a Charter for the taxpayer and seemed to be part of HMRC’s corporate vision.”

But the CIOT still expressed disappointment at the failure of the clause to insist that reviews of the Charter should involve consultation with all stakeholders.