Important changes to Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation


1 November 2016

ICAS and the other six professional bodies that jointly issue Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation (PCRT) have published a new update to PCRT on 1 November 2016 (which will come into effect on 1 March  2017).

For this latest update, the professional bodies have strengthened the existing five fundamental principles by the addition of five new Standards for Tax Planning that members must observe.  

These include a standard which makes clear that members “must not create, encourage or promote tax planning arrangements or structures that (i) set out to achieve results that are contrary to the clear intention of Parliament in enacting relevant legislation, and/or (ii) are highly artificial or highly contrived and seek to exploit shortcomings within the relevant legislation.” Such behaviours would lay a member of one of the bodies open to disciplinary action.

This addition to the PCRT responds to the Government’s challenge to the professional bodies, made in March 2015, to take a greater lead in setting and enforcing clear professional standards around the facilitation and promotion of tax avoidance.

The task of producing guidance that addresses legitimate concerns about avoidance without preventing advisers from providing full and correct advice to their clients has not been easy. This has been painstakingly debated within ICAS, at member events, between the seven bodies concerned, and in discussions between the profession and HMRC, before settling on the agreed wording.

The PCRT supports the Code of Ethics. Any queries or comments should be sent to

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