Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation (PCRT) sets out the professional standards that are expected of a member when undertaking tax work. There are a series of supporting helpsheets, including a new helpsheet supporting members who undertake R&D work.
PCRT is a pan-professional document published by seven leading accountancy and tax bodies. As such, it represents an ‘industry standard’ about professional behaviour in tax matters. Members must therefore be familiar with, and comply with, PCRT when advising on UK tax matters. Failure to do so may expose a member to possible disciplinary action.
PCRT has been updated with a new digital structure to make it easier to navigate. This edition is effective from 1 March 2019.
PCRT now consists of the fundamental principles and the standards for tax planning.
PCRT is supported by supplementary helpsheets, which replace Parts 3 and 4 of the 2017 edition. There are six helpsheets as follows:
Helpsheet B: tax advice (PDF, 205KB)
Helpsheet C: dealing with errors (PDF, 155KB)
Helpsheet D: request for data by HMRC (PDF, 209KB)
Helpsheet E: members’ personal tax affairs (PDF, 83KB)
Helpsheet topical guidance: the provision of R&D tax credit services – issued 1 June 2020 (PDF, 160KB)
In this latest update, the fundamental principles and standards have not changed. However, the helpsheets have been subject to review and a new criteria established for inclusion, namely that they should provide guidance that supports the fundamental principles and standards that underpin professional conduct, rather than providing general or specific commentary about developments in the tax system that could best be addressed through other guidance outside PCRT.
As a result of this revised approach, a number of helpsheets in the previous PCRT do not meet this criteria and have now been omitted. The remaining helpsheets have been revised to make them more use- friendly and the language modernised.
The helpsheets represent guidance designed to help members apply the fundamental principles and standards in their tax work. While not mandatory, a member in a disciplinary case may be asked to explain why they did not follow the helpsheet guidance. For example, a case might be brought against a member under the fundamental principle of ‘integrity’. As part of the investigation by the disciplinary body, the member could be asked to explain why, as recommended in Helpsheet C: dealing with errors, they had not advised their client to make good the tax underpayment that they had identified in the client’s tax affairs.
The professional bodies remain committed to improving the helpsheets and ensuring that they support the fundamental principles and standards. The working group is currently reviewing the publication of some further helpsheets that meet the revised criteria, and we anticipate that our new, more flexible, approach will enable any future help sheets to be published more quickly than in the past.
Edition replaced: Technical factsheet: Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation (issued 1 November 2016, effective from 1 March 2017 until 1 March 2019)