Frequently Asked Questions

Do the directors of the Taxation Disciplinary Board (TDB) also sit as members of the Investigation Committee and/or the Disciplinary and Appeal Tribunals?

No.  The directors of the TDB appoint, after open competition, members to the Investigation and Disciplinary panel (see Board and Panels on website).  They do not themselves attend or take part in the Investigation Committee or Disciplinary or Appeal tribunals or any hearings.

Does the TDB investigate every complaint made about members of CIOT and ATT?

No.  The TDB like many other (quasi) regulatory bodies operates a policy of assessing complaints via a Reviewer to ascertain whether the complaint has been brought within 24 months from when the last incident became known to the complainant, and whether the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of the TDB Scheme or Taxation Disciplinary Scheme Regulations 2014.  If the Reviewer determines that the complaint, inquiry or information is vexatious or of such a minor nature that, in his view, it would not if proved merit a sufficiently serious sanction to justify prosecution, the Reviewer may determine that no further action shall be taken.  There is an Appeal process available against a decision of the Reviewer should he make such a determination.

Do you need all the evidence before you will assess my complaint?

In order to make an accurate assessment of your complaint you must provide TDB with adequate evidence to support the matter complained of.  Your complaint is unlikely to proceed to investigation if there is little or no evidence to support it.

In addition, it is a requirement when making a complaint that all evidence is provided at the inception of the complaint and not provided in a piecemeal way.  Accordingly, before you submit your complaint, please gather together all available documentary evidence that would support your complaint and submit it at the same time you submit your complaint form.

Who do you act for – the complainant or the member?

We act in the public interest. This means we act for the benefit of the public as a whole rather than for individual complainants or members of CIOT and ATT.

What happens if I do not want the member to know who made the complaint?

Members are generally entitled to know the identity of the person making the complaint against them.  However, we appreciate that in rare specific occasions that this is not appropriate, and, as a complainant, you may therefore request TDB not to share your identity with the member.  However, please note that your identity may be apparent to a member from the context of the complaint as well as your name:  please let us know any particular concerns relating to other information which you provide.

If you do ask for your identity not to be shared, you will not be a “complainant” within the definition of our regulations and do not have the right to challenge our decisions (or be kept informed of the progress of the investigation).  We may also be unable to take the complaint forward or investigate it fully.

Note that in exceptional circumstances (for example where your complaint reveals a potential criminal matter) we may need to involve you even if you have requested not to be identified, in which case we will seek to discuss this with you.

Will the member be told about the complaint if I am anonymous?

Yes, the member will be advised of the complaint and they will be asked to comment. However, any complaint put to them will be anonymised.

I have changed my mind about making a complaint. How do I withdraw it?

If you wish to withdraw your support for the complaint you are entitled to do so. However, once TDB has received a complaint, it may decide to proceed with its investigation despite your withdrawing.

Who will investigate the complaint?

All complaints are initially investigated by the TDB Reviewer (as set out in the Taxation Disciplinary Scheme Regulations 2014 available on this website).

Will the member see the complaint?

The complaint and any evidence obtained in support of the complaint will be shared with the member who will be given the opportunity to comment on the complaint in writing.

The members comments in response to the complaint will (usually) be shared with the complainant and the complainant may be asked to provide further evidence as a result of the comments submitted.

What are the possible outcomes from the Reviewer’s investigation process?

For a full explanation see the Taxation Disciplinary Scheme Regulations 2014, regulations 3.3 to 3.16, available on this website.  In summary the Reviewer can determine that no action be taken (appeal available).  The Reviewer can refer the complaint to an Investigation Committee to determine whether there is a prima facie case.  The Reviewer can impose a financial penalty (where the breaches only relate to administrative matters) to a maximum of £500 for each breach.  An appeal against this latter penalty means that the case will be referred directly to a Disciplinary Tribunal.

What is the Investigation Committee and what is its role?

Where a complaint is referred for consideration to an Investigation Committee, the TDB shall select a five person committee from the Investigation Committee and Disciplinary Tribunal panel members.  At least one of the members shall be a Member (CIOT or ATT), and a majority shall be lay members.  The role of the Investigation Committee is to consider whether the complaint discloses a prima facie case.  A prima facie case can include, but is not limited to a case involving, a breach of professional standards and guidelines or, inadequate professional service or, conduct unbefitting.

The Investigation Committee can determine that no prima facie case is made out and dismiss the complaint.  Determine that there is a prima facie case but it is of such a minor nature that in  the Investigation Committee’s view it would not if proved merit a sufficiently serious sanction to justify prosecution and referral to a Disciplinary Tribunal and that therefore the complaint should lie on file for a period of three years.  Where it determines that a prima facie case has been made out refer the whole or appropriate part of the complaint to the Disciplinary Tribunal.

What is the Disciplinary Tribunal and what is its role?

A Disciplinary Tribunal is selected from the Investigation Committee and Disciplinary Tribunal panel members, to hear the charge(s) and has a quorum of three members, one of whom shall be a Member (CIOT or ATT), and a majority shall be lay members.  The chairman of the Disciplinary Tribunal shall be legally qualified.  For full details of the conduct of the Disciplinary Tribunal see the copy of the Taxation Disciplinary Scheme Regulations 2014, regulations 12 to 20, on the website.

Decisions of the Disciplinary Tribunal shall be unanimous or made by majority, the burden of proof shall be on the Presenter (TDB) and the standard of proof shall be the Civil Standard.

The Disciplinary Tribunal may find the charge(s):-

  1. Not proved.
  2. Order the complaint to rest on file for three years.
  3. Require the defendant to apologise to the complainant or another party.
  4. Warn the defendant as to his future conduct.
  5. Censure the defendant.
  6. Fine the defendant a sum not exceeding £20,00 for each proven charge.
  7. Suspend the defendant from membership for a maximum period of two years.
  8. Expel the defendant from membership.
  9. Order the defendant to pay a sum by way of costs.


Why am I receiving requests for information from the Reviewer?

Investigations are carried out to a high standard on an evidential basis.  Therefore, complainants are expected to have provided at the outset evidence to substantiate their complaints and to engage fully with the investigation by responding to communications in a timely manner.

The Reviewer will be responsible for a number of investigations at any given time and will make contact with you when he is in need of information in order to progress the investigation.  There is no need for you to make contact with the Reviewer unless you are responding to a request for information.

In circumstances where you fail to respond to a request for information as required, we reserve the right to determine you should no longer be treated as a “complainant” in the TDB’s proceedings.  If it becomes necessary to take this step, you will be notified of the TDB’s decision and you will no longer play a role in the complaints and disciplinary process.

How will I be contacted?

We will make contact primarily by email and/or telephone. In order to ensure that the investigation progresses smoothly, we will provide you with a deadline by which you will be expected to respond to a request for information. It is important that the complainant notifies the Reviewer if they will not be able to meet the deadline.


How will I be contacted if a complaint is made about me?

The Reviewer will normally contact you in writing via your nominated registered address to inform you of the complaint.  Thereafter, you can indicate to the Reviewer how you would like to receive further communications from TDB about the complaint – ie by email, letter.

As a member you are required to keep CIOT/ATT up-to-date with your contact details, including postal addresses.  A failure to do so may result in your failure to receive important information about your membership or the complaint.  Accordingly, please ensure you notify CIOT/ATT forthwith of any changes in your registered address other than one that is merely temporary.

Do I have to respond to complaints by telephone?

In general it is far more efficient for both you and the Reviewer if the matter is dealt with by email.  However, the nature of the complaint and your personal preference will be taken into account.

Please note that all members have a duty to co-operate with the Reviewer (TDB) in relation to the consideration and investigation of a complaint.  A failure to respond to the Reviewer can result In a failure to co-operate allegation being raised by TDB.  If you are unable to respond to requests for information you must inform the Reviewer or he will assume you are failing in your duty to co-operate.

Any questions?

Contact us