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Professional conduct in relation to taxation (PCRT)

PCRT sets out the principles and standards of behaviour that all members, affiliates and students must follow in their tax work. The latest version came into effect on 1 March 2017 and has now been republished in a new digital format designed to make it easier to navigate than the existing paper version.

First published in 1995, and regularly updated, the PCRT is written by ICAEW and six other leading UK accountancy and tax bodies. It sets out the ‘Fundamental Principles and Standards for Tax Planning’ and is supported by accompanying application guidance.

PCRT supports the key role members play in helping clients and businesses comply with their tax obligations and their broader responsibilities to society. It applies to all members in practice and in business and also to members dealing with the tax affairs of themselves, or others such as family, friends, charities etc whether or not for payment.

If a member fails to comply with PCRT they are liable to be subject to disciplinary action under the relevant ICAEW bye laws and regulations.

New digital PCRT

On 6 April 2018, ICAEW republished the PCRT in a new digital format which should be easier for members to follow. A single document now holds the Fundamental Principles and Standards, while the supporting guidance is now held on separate webpages with hyperlinks to the main document. The opportunity has also been taken to hyperlink the references in the PCRT to other supporting material.

Key points

  • PCRT is prepared jointly by seven professional bodies and associations, including ICAEW, whose members work in tax. The seven professional bodies are listed in para 1.11.
  • PCRT, has been in existence for over 20 years and is regularly updated. It sets out the high ethical standards which form the core of the tripartite relationship between tax adviser, client and HMRC.
  • The latest 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.
  • PCRT has been endorsed by HMRC as an acceptable basis for dealings between members and HMRC.

Further reading

ICAEW has prepared a set of Q&A’s to offer further guidance on PCRT and Michael Izza, ICAEW Chief Executive, has shared his views on tax avoidance on his blog.

PCRT webinar

ICAEW Deputy President Nick Parker and ICAEW Investigations Case Manager, Sophie Falcon guide members through the background to the challenge, the changes to the code of practice and what to watch out for in this short webinar.

This article was originally published on ICAEW.com