What is a tax advisor?
A tax advisor is a financial expert especially trained in tax law. Some countries require tax advisors to verify the balance sheets of companies above a certain size. Individuals usually require tax advisors to minimize taxation, to avoid learning the details of tax law in complicated financial situations themselves or to learn the details of tax law from a professional advisor.
How can a tax advisor assist?
Tax advisors can assist their clients to comply with their taxation obligations and avoid the penalties which can result from incorrect actions in relation to taxation matters. Some of the ethical principles by which many tax advisors operate include the following (adapted from the UK institute of tax advisors):
A member’s primary duty is to ensure that his actions comply with the law. He owes a contractual duty to the client to act for him with the requisite degree of skill and care, and the contractual relationship should be governed by a letter of engagement. The member also has duties to the tax authorities, notably of compliance with the law and the honest presentation of his client’s circumstances.
It is the taxpayer’s responsibility to ensure that returns made to the tax authorities are correct and complete. It is for the member to assist him to decide on the extent and manner of disclosure of facts in relation to his tax affairs.
Where a member becomes aware that irregularities have occurred in relation to a client’s tax affairs he should advise the client of the consequences, and the manner of disclosure. If necessary, appropriate specialist advice should be taken.
Where a client refuses to follow the advice of a member in relation to issues involving disclosure, the member should consider whether he should continue to act. If appropriate, specialist advice should be taken.
If mistakes are made by the tax authorities there may be a need, and in some cases a duty, on the part of the client and sometimes the member, to put matters right.
Members may have statutory duties of disclosure where they have suspicions of criminal activity.
When approached for information on a client’s affairs by another adviser the member should ensure that he has his client’s authority before making any disclosure.
If you are in need of access to a tax advisor, we have tax lawyers available and can also assist you with a referral to a tax agent if necessary.