PracticeAccounting FirmsWhiting ‘not independent’ claims Jersey senator

Whiting 'not independent' claims Jersey senator

Conflict over a report on sales tax in Jersy could result in John Whiting, one of the most respected tax advisers in the country, being reported to his institute by one of the island's senators.

Link: Tax changes key to Jersey’s survival

Senator Stuart Syvret says that he will lodge a complaint against Whiting alleging that he and PricewaterhouseCoopers lacked independence when they undertook an independent review of the island’s tax affairs.

The report concluded the island should introduce a sales tax, a measure Syvret has opposed. Ironically the senator was an early advocate of an independent review.

‘I am going to make a complaint concerning Mr Whiting to the Chartered Institute of Taxation,’ Syvret told Accountancy Age. He said he would do so within the next fortnight.

Central to Syvret’s complaint is that Whiting had already expressed a view over the island’s taxation system. ‘He can’t be regarded as independent, as he is already on record as being in support of the finance and economics committee proposals,’ said Syvret.

Whiting said that he had given a seminar in Jersey earlier this year, during which he was asked to talk about where the tax system was going in general terms.

‘Naturally enough, I gave a reaction to proposals on Jersey’s tax,’ Whiting said. ‘Did this make me non-independent? I just don’t see it.’

Syvret’s accusations will surprise many in the tax industry, not least because Whiting’s untarnished reputation has made him one of the most influential tax professionals in the UK. He has been asked to advise the government on numerous occasions.

‘The firm is absolutely convinced we have done this properly and the client seems very well satisfied,’ said Whiting. ‘Syvret is entitled to disagree.’

Syvret insisted he had a ‘primae-facie’ case against Whiting after studying the CIoT rules.

Jersey must reform its tax system because of increasing pressure from both the European Union and the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development.

In his report, Whiting recommended that the state adopt what is known as a 0/10 company tax regime and said that ‘VAT is our preferred route for raising significant tax funds’.

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