It would be difficult to have a well-functioning tax system without tax advisors. Because most taxpayers are not familiar with the intricacies of the tax laws, tax advisors are needed so that taxpayers can fulfill their complicated tax obligations. As informed members of the public, tax advisors also provide input to the formulation of legislation and regulations.
By counseling taxpayers on how to comply with their legal obligations, tax advisors serve an important public interest; the state has an interest in fostering and protecting this role. The role of tax advisors, however, differs from that of the tax authorities in that their primary loyalty is to their client, not to the state. An important function of the regulation of tax advisors is to help strike an appropriate balance between loyalty to the system and loyalty to the client.
Regulation also has the goal of protecting clients from unscrupulous or incompetent tax advisors. Here, the regulatory interest of the state is similar to that in other areas of consumer protection. The danger is that such regulation might serve instead to protect the economic interests of those permitted to act as tax advisors, or might strangle the free exercise of the profession by creating undue bureaucratic control.
Different countries have adopted different regulatory approaches. Tax advice is typically given by different types of professional’s viz. Lawyers, Accountants & Tax Practitioners – each of which may be subject to independent regulation of its profession. Tax advice covers multitudes of different activities, which can be performed by professionals with different qualifications have different regulatory approaches. Tax Advice involves preparation of statements, filing of returns and acting & pleading before revenue authorities. Professional misconduct in the course of all these three activities are not covered by independent regulation of any professional body in India to make Tax Advisers accountable to the revenue Deptt. It means that, when they are not licensed for all such activity involved in tax practice, such independent professional body restrained to take action on members for professional misconduct. In India following five class of Tax Professionals are working in the area of Tax Advice.
(1) Legal Practitioners
(2) Chartered Accountants
(3) Cost & Management Accountants
(4) Company Secretaries
(5) Registered Tax Practitioners in the respective taxation statutes.
In GST regime, many new assesses will be add up to the compliance requirement under Goods & Service Tax Act, demanding the assistance of more Tax Professionals. Hence, it is right time to have unified control & regulation of all players practicing taxation law in India, Tax Practitioners Law is the need of the hour. In India, there are professional bodies passed by the Acts of Parliament, to protect the interest of their members only, but there is no professional body to generate tax professionals to protect the interest of Govt. revenue. On date, there is no required number of Tax Professionals in India to fully support compliance under proposed GST regime. “More persons in the line of tax practice leads to improvement in quantum of compliance & more revenue to the Government”. Therefore, I am of the strong view that India requires separate law for Tax Professionals to enjoy legitimate revenue collection in GST regime.
(Author is an Auditor & Tax Advocate and can be reached E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile No. +91-9035089036)