Companies should be up-front on tax affairs, say readers

COMPANIES NEED TO ENSURE the public, media and governments understand their tax position through greater transparency, according to Accountancy Age readers.

This month, Ernst & Young warned in a report that detail disclosed by companies must be adequately explained in order to deliver greater understanding to stakeholders. Measures such as country-by-country reporting could instead produce a potentially significant administrative burden and cause businesses to “divulge commercially sensitive information”, it said.

But of the 61 readers polled by Accountancy Age, 50 – some 82% – disagreed, noting that without greater transparency, companies will continue to attract public, media and governmental scrutiny. The remaining 11 held concerns that releasing further information may not contribute towards any wider understanding of businesses’ tax affairs.

In the report, E&Y’s managing partner for tax in the UK and Ireland observed that “by seizing the initiative now”, companies can “positively inform and influence the debate”.

Since the release of the report, Dixon has appeared before the Public Accounts Committee alongside Google vice-president for Northern Europe Matt Brittin.

During the hearing, Brittin was roundly criticised by the committee for drumming up business in the UK before completing the deals in Ireland, driving down its UK tax bill.

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