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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

HM Revenue & Customs
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Dishonest tax agents: determining dishonest conduct: what is dishonest conduct

An individual engages in ‘dishonest conduct’ if, in the course of acting as a tax agent, that individual does something dishonest with a view to bringing about a loss of tax revenue.

‘Dishonest’ takes its ordinary meaning. Dishonest conduct includes

  • dishonestly doing something,
  • dishonestly omitting to do something, and
  • advising or assisting a client to do something that the tax agent knows to be dishonest.

See CH181140 for guidance on the meaning of dishonesty.

It does not matter whether a loss of tax revenue actually occurs.

It also does not matter whether or not the individual is acting on the instruction of clients.

A ‘loss of tax revenue’ means that the client

  • accounts for less tax than they are required to account for by law
  • obtains more tax relief than they are entitled to obtain by law
  • accounts for tax later than they are required to account for it by law, or
  • obtains tax relief earlier than they are entitled to obtain it by law.

‘Tax relief’ includes

  • any exemption from, or deduction or credit against or in respect of, tax, and
  • any repayment of tax.

Operational guidance gives examples of what we consider to be dishonest conduct at CH880200 and has guidance on how we establish dishonest conduct at CH881000+.