There is ‘moral dimension’ to tax, claims PwC chairman

THERE IS A MORAL DIMENSION to providing tax advice, according to PwC’s global chairman.

Dennis Nally’s comments come after the European Commission confirmed it would be investigating the tax affairs of major multinationals, including Apple, Amazon and Starbucks and their relationships with Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands respectively.

The EC is concerned the companies poured investment into those countries in return for minimal tax bills, potentially amounting to state aid.

When asked if tax advice has a moral dimension, the Financial Times reports Nally said: “I think it does […] It’s not only what companies could do but what should they do.” Professional services firms have a role to play in helping companies think about “what’s acceptable and appropriate,” he said.

His comments contrast sharply with those of EY chairman Steve Varley, who last week said his firm would not be changing its advice.

“We’ll carry on as before,” he told The Times. “Parliament should legislate if they want a different outcome. I don’t think it’s up to us to get embroiled in politics.”

That is despite the chancellor’s pledge at the Conservative party conference that technology companies “that go to extraordinary lengths” to cut their tax bills will be hit with new anti-avoidance rules.

On Tuesday, PwC reported that global revenues increased 5.6% to $34bn (£21.2bn) in the fiscal year ended 30 June, with growth across all revenue streams and geographical regions. Growth was led by its advisory practice, where revenues increased 10% to $10bn, boosted by its acquisition of management consultant Booz and Company, which was rebranded Strategy&.

Revenues from PwC’s tax practice, which make up about a quarter of global revenues, increased 7.8% to $8.8bn during the 12 months.

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