Earlier this week leading firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have come under intense criticism by a select committee of MPs. They have accused PwC of trying to promote tax avoidance “on an industrial scale”, this is following the leaking of hundreds of Luxemburg tax rulings.
HMRC will be looking at putting a ‘code of conduct’ in place for future schemes. The criticism, which was strongly disputed by PwC, is the latest in a string of attacks by the committee on tax advice firms they believe have contributed to tax evasion. The committee said “Government needs to take a more active role in regulating the tax advice sector, as it evidently cannot be trusted to regulate itself”.
In response to the criticisms PwC have stood by their practices and have disagreed with the committees’ conclusions, they have however admitted that they need to do more to explain the role they play in the tax system, and that they would “continue to support reform”.
HMRC this week have issued a statement in response to recent media coverage on offshore tax avoidance schemes:
“We have systematically worked through all the Lagarde data. As a result tax, interest and penalties have now been paid by those who hid their assets offshore to get out of paying tax. The decision to prosecute is made by the Crown Prosecution Service based on the facts. We use information provided by whistleblowers as part of our commitment to tackle offshore tax evasion. To date, our agreements with Switzerland and Liechtenstein alone have brought in around £2 billion in previously unpaid tax.”