Tax chiefs defend themselves over tax avoidance schemes


12th February 2013

Big firms including Google, Starbucks and Amazon have recently been broadcast in the news a lot regarding tax avoidance schemes. The big tax chiefs at the accountancy firms they use have defended themselves against the claims.

Here is the story BBC news wrote on the topic:

"Tax chiefs hit back at criticism over avoidance

31 January 2013

Tax chiefs at the big accountancy firms have defended themselves against claims they are behind avoidance schemes that damage the UK's interests. MPs on the Public Accounts Committee accused them of making corporate taxable income "vanish into thin air".

But the tax chiefs, including from PwC and KPMG, said many common assumptions about avoidance schemes were wrong.

Jane McCormick, KPMG's tax head, said there was "no appetite among clients" to do anything outside the law.

The committee was taking evidence from the Big Four accountancy firms, which also includes Deloitte and Ernst & Young, at a time when issues of tax avoidance have moved centre stage.

Revelations about the tax arrangements of companies including Google, Amazon and Starbucks - which use the Big Four - have sparked a debate about tax avoidance. Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron said countries had to work together to clamp down on aggressive avoidance schemes.

The tax heads defended the use of tax havens, arguing that it was wrong to say that companies just routed money through "doors with a brass nameplate".

If a company is registered in a tax haven, it has to have staff and facilities there, said Kevin Nicholson, PwC's head of tax. "If there was no substance there, the advice would not work," he said.

The panel of experts also rejected suggestions that by advising companies to avoid tax, they were breaching the spirit of the Companies Act, which requires directors to act in good faith and maintain high standards."

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