Obama’s record speaks against tax abuse

Barack Obama’s success in the US presidential primaries raises some
interesting issues for accountants across the pond, not least on his
co-operation with other politicians on the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, which does,
as you might imagine, exactly what it says on the tin.

Obama’s stance on tax abuse speaks volumes about a man who is clearly
attempting to respond to concerns currently at large in Washington politics.

That stance has had its results, as we point out this week. While Obama’s top
20 donors exclude accountancy firms, Hilary Clinton has Ernst & Young as her
16th largest, while the firm’s employees form the largest body of donors for
Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani. We should hardly be surprised given Obama’s
very public stance and the large tax abuse cases that have recently filled US

But what does this tell about an Obama presidency? Consider this. Arthur
Levitt, a former SEC chief, is currently consulting on audit ownership rules in
the US. Would Obama back liberalisation there? If the Public Accounting
Oversight Board asks for more money to regulate accountants, as it did recently,
would Obama back that?

Could Obama like to see a tightening up of tax law and increased competition
among the big accountancy firms?

Obama’s backing for the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act can only give us a hint at
what action he might take. The man is anti-establishment in character and he may
carry that attitude over into a much broader approach to corporate America and
the professional services industry.

Even though John Edwards is touted as the most anti-corporate among this
year’s presidential hopefuls, it is Obama who has already spoken with his

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