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HMRC have set up a new Tax Academy to offer trainee tax inspectors’ two professional degrees accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) . . .

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have stepped up their ambition of increasing tax professionalism by offering staff the opportunity to study towards either a foundation or honours degree in Professional Studies in Taxation, accredited by the Manchester Metropolitan University.

HMRC released the news article on their website on 29 March 2012.

As well as the new qualifications now on offer to HMRC staff, the Association of Accounting Technicians are still to continue accrediting separate awards, certificates and diplomas at lower levels of learning.

215 of HMRC’s staff are currently working towards a degree; the Revenue predicts this number will double in 2013 as they recruit more tax professionals.

Dave Hartnett, Permanent Secretary for Tax at HMRC, said:

“We know we have great people doing great work that deserves to be recognised. We want to be seen as a leader in tax, both in the UK and internationally and the launch of the Tax Academy is a really important step towards that goal.

“The academy will offer bespoke training at various locations around the country. Staff on the courses will be expected to pass both exams and practical assessments, with hands on learning forming a core part of the tax profession degree. The Tax Academy will also support staff in maintaining and developing their skills throughout their career, making sure HMRC has the highly trained people it needs to combat tax avoidance, evasion and fraud.”

But this may not be the first announcement that HMRC are establishing the Tax Academy.

On 15 April 2011 Tax Assist Accountants blogged on their site that HMRC were then allowing staff to “obtain Tax Professional Qualifications accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)”

“According to the tax body, the training will provide external recognition and validity for the department’s own Higher level Tax Qualifications by testing the knowledge and skills of HMRC employees”, the Tax Assist article adds.

In 2011 HMRC’s Chief People Officer, Mike Falvey, said:

“I think this is a great opportunity for HMRC and our tax professionals, to achieve a step-change in our approach to developing our capability, improving our service to customers and stakeholders and being recognised as the centre of tax professionalism in the UK.”

Hopefully HMRC’s Tax Academy will solve the problem of low grade tax inspectors unnecessarily dragging out tax investigations, as they are not trained to the highest standard; as the old saying goes, ‘quality is better than quantity’.

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