Johnston Carmichael welcomes ICAS report on the future of tax administration


Alexandra Docherty

Alexandra Docherty

Tax Partner


Tax experts at leading independent accountancy and business advisory firm, Johnston Carmichael, have expressed their support of a new report released by the Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland (ICAS), detailing suggested improvements to UK tax administration.

The report, entitled ‘Tomorrow’s Tax Administration’, calls for the UK Government to take action in ten areas of tax administration which ICAS has identified as key priorities for the efficient running of the taxation system.

As ICAS notes in its report, a well-functioning tax system is essential for both taxpayers and government revenues, with the Government in need of cash to fund COVID recovery as well as a number of new initiatives such as those announced in the UK Budget back in March.

In order to successfully execute the ten year tax strategy the UK Government set out in July 2020, ‘Building a trusted, modern tax administration system’, ICAS has urged the Government to prioritise the following areas of tax administration:

  1. Powers and safeguards – striking the right balance
  2. Facilitating the work of agents in supporting their clients
  3. Supporting high standards for all agents
  4. Swift access to the right HMRC support and expertise           
  5. Meeting the standards set out in the new HMRC Charter
  6. Making Tax Digital – making it work for businesses
  7. Personal income tax – roadmap required
  8. Support and access for the digitally excluded and digitally challenged
  9. A user-friendly legislative framework
  10. Tax Simplification

Johnston Carmichael, which offers one of the largest and most comprehensive tax advisory practices in Scotland, has long held a working relationship with ICAS, with several of the firm’s senior tax team sitting on ICAS Boards and Committees. Susie Walker, Head of Tax at Johnston Carmichael, sits on the ICAS Tax Board, while Private Client Tax Partners, Alex Docherty and Peter Young, chair the Owner Managed Business Taxes Committee and Private Client Committee respectively. Additionally, Corporate Tax Director, Stuart Thomson, sits on the International and Large Business Taxes Committee, and VAT Director and Head of Indirect Taxes, Nigel Roberts, will shortly be joining the Indirect Tax Committee.

A number of Johnston Carmichael’s team also hold other positions within ICAS, such as Tax Senior Manager Chris Campbell, who was recently elected to the ICAS Council.

Commenting on the report, Head of Private Client Tax, Alex Docherty, said:

I am pleased to see the launch of ICAS’ Report into ‘Tomorrow’s Tax Administration’.  Leading the Private Client Team at Johnston Carmichael, which acts as agent for the tax affairs of over 10,000 clients, we experience first-hand the problems that arise when the building blocks that shape the UK’s tax administration system come unstuck. The COVID-19 pandemic has put further stresses on that system, and whilst I and the wider team very much welcome HMRC embracing digitalisation more fully to include the roll out of Making Tax Digital for individuals, we echo ICAS’ view that action needs to be taken by the Government to improve on tax administration first, before rolling out major projects to foundations that are already shaky.