Finance directors fear scrutiny over tax controls

Finance directors could be forced to make wholesale changes to avoid being
fined for having inadequate tax accounting systems.

The Financial Times likened
new rules flagged in the Budget to Sarbanes-Oxley in the US. Aimed at stamping
out tax avoidance, they require a company’s ‘senior accounting officer’ to
certify the integrity of its tax accounting system.

If inadequate, finance and tax directors could be fined £5,000. After an
initial outcry when the new penalty was announced, Treasury scaled back its
scope. It will now apply to the 2,000 largest companies rather than the 15,000
originally envisioned.

A Deloitte survey estimated the cost of compliance for most large companies
to be between £50,000 and £250,000.

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