HMRC accused of being too cosy with big firms who want to avoid tax
The Commons Public Accounts Committee have been looking at our beloved HMRC and have said that they're "very concerned" at the way the "big four" firms (Deloitte, Ernst and Young, KPMG, and PwC) were able to enjoy tax loopholes using "insider knowledge" from staff seconded to the Treasury to help people avoid taxes.
Committee chairman Margaret Hodge said the practice is a "ridiculous conflict of interest" which should be banned, adding: "The large accountancy firms are in a powerful position in the tax world and have an unhealthily cosy relationship with government."
The committee said: "Through their work in advising government on changes to legislation they have a detailed knowledge of UK tax law, and the insight to identify loopholes in new legislation quickly."
For example, KPMG's staff advised on the development of "controlled foreign company" and "patent box" rules, followed up by a marketing brochure highlighting the role they had played, which according to the committee, suggested the legislation represented a business opportunity to reduce UK tax.
"We have seen what look like cases of poacher, turned gamekeeper, turned poacher again, whereby individuals who advise government go back to their firms and advise their clients on how they can use those laws to reduce the amount of tax they pay," it said. "We are very concerned by the way that the four firms appear to use their insider knowledge of legislation to sell clients advice on how to use those rules to pay less tax."
How's about that then? The tax office and government in cahoots with big companies regarding tax avoidance! Next we'll be getting told about politicians themselves with offshore interested and stakeholdings in companies that will benefit from the destruction of the NHS and the like!