Tax Experts in UK deny their assistance in Tax Avoidance

Tax Experts in UK deny their assistance in Tax Avoidance

In response to questioning by members of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, UK Tax Heads from the "Big Four" firms denied that they help companies to avoid paying fair tax and rejected the suggestion to forbid them receiving contracts in the public sector. 

John Dixon of Ernst and Young, Bill Dodwell of Deloitte LLP, Jane McCormick of KPMG and Kevin Nicholson of PWC argued that their services promote investment into the UK and British industry benefits from their advice. 

Dodwell explained that professional tax advice helps companies to avoid tax "costs," but not to avoid tax. Nicholson denied that his firm dealt in tax schemes. McCormick added that there is no demand among clients for artificial arrangements and that businesses want sustainable tax plans. 

The four Tax Heads also insisted that they operate in accordance with the spirit of Section 172 of the Companies Act, which states that directors must have regard for business standards.

Together with the prospect of excluding the "Big Four" from public sector procurement processes, the head of Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge also suggested that firms that undertake auditing work should not be allowed to give tax advice. The four tax experts responded that there are already quite strict rules for audit firms in place.

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