One of the key benefits of being a member of the Tax Faculty is the ability to receive technical advice from a specialist consultant for a nominal fee via the Referral Scheme.
We want to hear from members who have used the Scheme about their experiences. We’d like to know:
Please share your thoughts below or contact: email@example.com
I haven't used the scheme, and indeed have just retired, but I thought that it would be useful to explain why I didn't use it.
I appreciate that it may have changed now, but when I was contemplating its use, there was a little booklet with individuals listed per subject.
My problem was that many individuals were listed under eg every tax related subject - this, in my opinion, did not make them the type of specialist that I was looking for - indeed it was likely that they knew little more than I. For me the scheme was no use unless it actually referred me to true specialists.
Hope this is helpful.
The ICAEW Tax Faculty should provide its own Tax Helpline as I believe ACCA provides free of charge, and not rely on a referral scheme.
ICAEW provides a Technical Helpline for Accounting, Regulatory and Ethical matters, so why not Tax?
My experience of using the referral scheme was not inspiring, the "so called" expert in his field was unable to give me a clear answer. His gave vague opinion over the phone without any supporting evidence, reference to legislation or recent cases.
As a tax adviser myself it is the first port of call on matters of doubt without the guilt of feeling I am asking for free advice. I use it particularly if I know the person to who will be giving the advice.
I tried to use the scheme recently but one consultant did not answer my e-mails and another decided that, on the basis of a three line e-mail, it was too complicated and he was too busy and he would only provide advice on a fee-charging basis. I assume he thought I would refer my client to him. This is not how I thought the scheme was supposed to work; it would have been more helpful if he had approached it on the understanding that it was the member who was looking for advice, not the member's client, and that his comments, on the basis of a brief read of a synopsis and telephone conversation, might have been useful. I doubt that I shall use the scheme again.
I have found the referral scheme very helpful on a couple of occasions. In one case I was looking for guidance on a technical matter relating to capital gains tax, and on another regarding appealing HMRC penalties. I would say if you have a specific technical point on which you need assistance, it's a good option. It is nice to be able to validate your own thoughts with someone to make sure you are on the right track. It's not a substitute for your own research and knowledge however.
I have used the scheme on numerous occasions and find it generally very useful. Some advisers have been less expert than others but I have found a couple of gems and I use them whenever I have a query that could fit into their speciality. Even if it is to confirm an opinion that I have or a conclusion that I have reached, it is very useful as a sole practitioner to have some reassurance on complicated (or sometimes not even that complicated!) technical issues.
I have often found answers within the £25 + VAT offer but equally have sometiumes had matters that required more time and required payment at higher (but never extortionate) rates. Overall I am happy with the scheme - you just have to accept a bit of trial and error!
The colleagues I have approached for assistance have been helpful and generous with their time.
I have tried using the referral scheme twice. The first time the reply was that it was a complex issue and they couldn't really help, the second time I got no reply.
I would prefer to pay for a help desk and have queries answered more directly rather than the referral scheme which has not been very helpful to me personally.
I was looking for advice about a beneficiary of a UK trust who was resident in France. For a very modest fee I was pointed in the right direction. Subsequently I have been able to put a potential client in touch with the firm that assisted me and in some way I hope this has compensated them for the help they gave me.
Thank you, to everyone who has posted comments here - they are very helpful. We are pleased to see that quite a few people have found the scheme helpful, but have taken note of criticisms and comments as well.