Earlier this year, the government coordinating group on audit and accounting issues, set up to prevent an Enron-type scandal in the UK, recommended the government use legal gateways to enable information to be passed from the taxman to account-ancy regulators.
In its final report in January, the group said that there should be a framework to ‘allow information to be passed between the Revenue and the Financial Services Authority/FRRP/DTI, so that data held by the Revenue can be used to help identify high-risk accounts’ for investigation.
But recently released minutes from a meeting of the Revenue large business office forum in July said: ‘If the gateway was set up then information would only be passed to the FRRP in a very limited number of cases.’
The minutes also said that ‘no referrals will be made without discussion with the corporate and their auditors’ and that ‘no more than a handful’ of accounts would be referred each year.
But a Revenue spokesman described the possible watering down as ‘pure speculation’ and ‘misleading’, saying it was too early to draw conclusions.
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