In its response to HMRC’s consultation, ICAEW expressed broad support for the introduction of a voluntary standard for customs intermediaries to raise the quality and consistency of service across the sector, particularly in the ‘unaffiliated sector’.
ICAEW’s response supported the standard being robust to ensure it has credibility, though noted concerns that the voluntary standard should not be prohibitive to the extent that smaller intermediaries are effectively forced out of the market.
The response also expressed support for the standard being verifiable by independent third parties, who should themselves be accredited to ensure the standard is applied uniformly across the sector.
However, ICAEW expressed concerns that there are already several existing standards and stressed the importance that the interaction between these standards is considered. Any new standard for customs intermediaries should be consistent with the HMRC standard for agents, wherever possible.
ICAEW members already comply with the Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation standard, which includes an obligation to maintain professional knowledge and skill at the level required to ensure clients receive competent professional service. ICAEW’s response recommends that the possibility of an exemption or full credit for being a member of a recognised professional body should be explored.
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