FTA urges tax agents to comply with professional standards

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has called on tax agents to comply with the five 'Professional Standards for Tax Agents', published in a new guide on the subject, in all of their transactions to ensure uninterrupted activity.

The new guide was issued through the FTA’s official website, offering a detailed explanation of the standards and conditions required for practising the profession of tax agent in the UAE.

In the new guide, the FTA offered a detailed explanation of the five professional standards that should be met by tax agents, noting that a system has been put in place to track and ensure compliance with these standards.

The system relies on three methods, first of which is reviewing the timeliness and accuracy of the taxable persons’ returns if they have appointed a tax agent. The second approach is monitoring requests for clarifications and other correspondence with the FTA sent by tax agents, to ensure that their professional and technical knowledge meets the level expected of them under the outlined professional standards.

The FTA has accredited 357 tax agents who meet the technical standards, conditions and qualifications required, and who have passed the exams set by the Authority.

The Federal Tax Authority explained that the Code of Ethics consists of five standards: integrity, objectivity, professional competence, confidentiality, and professional behaviour. A person acting in their capacity as a tax agent is expected to uphold these standards, which ensure that they are committed to the Code of Ethics, developed by the FTA based on the common international standards expected from the tax profession generally, and in particular, required as part of the membership criteria of professional bodies governing standards in the tax profession.

FTA Director-General Khalid Ali Al Bustani underlined the important role that tax agents play in strengthening the relationship between the Authority and taxable persons, improving compliance rates, raising awareness around the principles of the tax system and its executive and control regulations, and introducing the services and facilities the FTA offers to help taxpayers comply with regulations.

Al Bustani noted that the number of tax agents authorised by the Authority is growing, which provides greater options for taxpayers who want to hire an agent to assist them in implementing tax procedures.

A tax agent’s job requires academic qualifications, high-level competencies, and extensive practical experience. An agent registered with the FTA can be commissioned on behalf of any person or entity to represent them and help them fulfil their tax obligations and exercise their rights.

The Federal Tax Authority has drafted and published a series of guides and public clarifications covering all legislative and executive aspects of local tax systems, including guides on tax agents and agencies, which outline the procedures and conditions for a tax agent to register with the Authority.

Al Bustani called on all authorised tax agents to take advantage of these manuals and publications and study them extensively to improve their knowledge of this vital sector, and provide accurate information to their clients, helping promote a healthy tax culture among businesses in the UAE.

The Authority outlined a third and final method for monitoring tax agents and ensuring compliance with the new standards; it consists of monitoring correspondence received from taxable persons, including any official complaints, requests for reconsideration, and requests for exemption from or reduction of administrative penalties, which clearly state that relying on a tax agent contributed to the error being made.

The Authority has to approve a tax agent before they register in its databases, evaluating them against a set of conditions, and later monitoring their professional and ethical behaviour to make sure they comply with standards. The FTA reserves the right to remove a tax agent from its records in certain specified conditions.

The Federal Tax Authority asserted that upon removing a person from the register, the FTA shall notify them regarding that removal within five business days of the decision, providing its reasons for the decision.

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