Accountancy firms selling ‘aggressive tax avoidance schemes’ should be banned
from securing government contracts in a further crackdown urged in the Commons.
Great Grimsby Labour MP Austin Mitchell made the demand in a series of
questions he put down in the Commons to chancellor Gordon Brown.
The MP – a longstanding critic of the profession – said he had acted because
he believed the anti-avoidance measures in the finance bill do not go far enough
to prevent large-scale revenue losses.
Other questions propose, under the protection of Parliamentary privilege, an
investigation into ‘the role of KPMG, PwC, Ernst and Young and Deloitte in
devising and selling illegal tax avoidance schemes’.
And Brown was urged to ‘introduce a general anti-avoidance rule to curb tax
Mitchell said his questions were sparked by reports of investigations in the
USA into the way tax avoidance schemes were being sold on a ‘no gain, no fee’
He said he was keen to find out if big multinational firms may be using the
same methods on this side of the Atlantic.
He said: ‘If it is, there could be a big hole in the public revenues
resulting in the rest of us having to pay higher taxes’.
He said he wanted the Revenue to be given ‘a general competence to strike
down any scheme that is simply for the purpose of avoiding taxes rather than a
genuine commercial purpose’.
He said he preferred that there should be no appeal procedure, adding:
‘People may say this is dictatorial, but these schemes are flourishing.’
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