Opinion Former Article

CIOT: Institute honours campaigner for taxpayers on low incomes

John Andrews has become only the third ever recipient of the Chartered Institute of Taxation’s (CIOT) Council Award, in recognition of his tireless work for taxpayers on low incomes and his wider service to the Institute and the tax profession.

The citation given for the award is:

“This is given in recognition of his long service as an officer of the Institute and as a champion of pensioners and the unrepresented taxpayer, including serving as founding chairman of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group and helping found the charity Tax Help for Older People.”

CIOT President, Patrick Stevens, made the presentation at the Institute’s annual President’s Luncheon at the Savoy Hotel in London on Tuesday 8 January 2013.

Patrick Stevens commented:

“This award is truly well deserved. As founder and chairman of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG), John has been a powerful champion of the unrepresented on tax and tax credit issues for many years.”

Anthony Thomas, who succeeded John Andrews as LITRG Chairman last year, said:

“The achievements of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group under John Andrews are testimony to how one man’s vision and drive can make a real difference for huge numbers of ordinary taxpayers.”

Accepting the award yesterday, John Andrews used his speech to urge HMRC, the Treasury and the Department of Work and Pensions to give a higher priority to the needs of the vulnerable and disadvantaged, saying:

“We are told that the 80:20 rule applies and that with reduced resources they can only cater for the majority. I don’t buy this, either strategically or practically. It is the vulnerable and disadvantaged who almost always end up in the 20%, who get the poor service, whose problems are not considered in advance of implementation, either because these are seen as just too difficult or people operating in their silos don’t recognise the knock-on effects of their proposals; until it is too late.

“I’d like the people at the top, just for one year perhaps, to say that their equal number one priority was ensuring that those right at the bottom of the economic pile got the very best service and consideration from their departments. I regard this to be the right thing to do at this time of austerity.”

John Andrews also warned that parts of the current debate on tax avoidance contained “a distinct lack of facts, accompanied by impossible dreams, misunderstandings and many unsupported assertions.” He said he hoped that the CIOT would proactively pick up the challenge “to ensure the resurrection of Facts and to protect his cousin Tax Law from also being sent to an early grave.”

John Andrews’ acceptance speech can be read in full here.

Notes to editors

John Andrews OBE CTA(Fellow) FCA ATT began his career working for the Inland Revenue and went on to join Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC). While there he was Head of Tax from 1986 to 1993.

John became a member of the Institute of Taxation (not yet the Chartered Institute of Taxation) in 1965. He became a CIOT Council Member in 1992 and President from 1997 to 1998.

During his presidency of the CIOT, John set up the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) to provide a voice for the unrepresented – pensioners and others on low incomes unable to afford tax advice but who struggle to deal with the complexities of our tax system. His energetic campaigning and encyclopaedic knowledge of his new area has led to many changes in legislation and HMRC and other departments’ working practices. He served as LITRG Chairman from 1998 until 2012. In 2008 John was appointed to the Social Security Advisory Commission (SSAC) and has been appointed to a second term. He is also a trustee of Advice Now.

John has written extensively for tax publications and newspapers and has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Taxation Lifetime Achievement award in 2012. In 2010 he won one of HMRC’s first ever tax transparency awards for “championing the cause of the unrepresented taxpayer and making a positive impact on UK tax administration”. In 2003 he was awarded the OBE.

The two previous recipients of the CIOT Council Award are Ian Luder and John Avery Jones. Ian Luder is a former CIOT President who also served as Lord Mayor of London. John Avery Jones is a former CIOT President who has sat as a tax tribunal judge for more than 20 years.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) is a charity and the leading professional body in the United Kingdom concerned solely with taxation. The CIOT’s primary purpose is to promote education and study of the administration and practice of taxation. One of the key aims is to achieve a better, more efficient, tax system for all affected by it – taxpayers, advisers and the authorities.

The CIOT’s comments and recommendations on tax issues are made solely in order to achieve its primary purpose: it is politically neutral in its work. The CIOT will seek to draw on its members’ experience in private practice, government, commerce and industry and academia to argue and explain how public policy objectives (to the extent that these are clearly stated or can be discerned) can most effectively be achieved.

The CIOT’s 16,500 members have the practising title of ‘Chartered Tax Adviser’ and the designatory letters ‘CTA’.

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George Crozier
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