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Deloitte’s Hartnett appointment “inappropriate”, say readers

THE APPOINTMENT by Deloitte of former HM Revenue & Customs tax secretary Dave Hartnett has been branded “inappropriate” by Accountancy Age readers.

Of the 70 polled, 72% felt that given Hartnett’s track record with HMRC, it was not wise for him to join Deloitte, while the remaining 28% noted his role will not see him undertake work related to UK tax.

Hartnett will work in a consultancy capacity one day a week at the Big Four firm, helping developing nations improve their tax regimes.

Hartnett has been heavily criticised over so-called ‘sweetheart’ deals struck with multinationals, including investment bank Goldman Sachs, in which he agreed in 2010 to waive interest penalties of up to £20m on offshore bonuses paid to bank staff in order to settle a lengthy tax dispute.

Last month, the High Court dismissed a legal challenge to the deal brought by anti-austerity activists UK Uncut, ruling that the settlement was “reasonable” and lawful.

David Cameron reportedly approved the appointment, provided Hartnett is “not involved in any work considering how UK taxation can be mitigated or avoided”.

A spokesperson for Deloitte said at the time: “Dave Hartnett will work as a consultant to Deloitte advising foreign governments and tax administrations, primarily in the developing world. He has significant experience in advising such countries on the development of effective tax regimes necessary to ensure their continued economic growth. He will not work with UK companies or with HMRC.”

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