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Privilege does not extend to accountants

Posted: in by Michelle Barron.

HMRC has won a landmark ruling which providing that accountants giving tax advice cannot withhold details of their clients’ affairs under the protection of legal professional privilege. The Supreme Court ruled that the principle of confidentiality applies only to qualified lawyers, solicitors and barrister. The Law Society commented. “The decision maintains the existing certainty about the scope of LPP, an important human right of clients,”. “It confirms that there is no doubt that the justification for LPP is as valid in the modern world as it was when it was first developed by the courts”. However, the Chief executive of ICAEW said: “The Supreme Court’s decision does not mean our fight is over. As a matter of urgency, Parliament needs to find a way to resolve how issues such as legal professional privilege are addressed”. The ruling centred around an attempt by Prudential to withhold certain details of a 2004 avoidance scheme from HMRC.

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