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Tax Avoidance

HM Treasury written question – answered on 3rd March 2015.

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Photo of Austin Mitchell Austin Mitchell Labour, Great Grimsby

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will appoint an independent commission to investigate claims about the roles of PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte in designing, selling and implementing tax avoidance schemes.

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte are members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales, a professional regulator. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is working with ICAEW and other professional regulators to strengthen their role in upholding professional standards.

In addition to this, the Government introduced the High Risk Promoters (Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes) legislation in Finance Act 2014 to tackle the small and persistent minority of promoters of tax avoidance schemes who display behaviours that are detrimental to the integrity of the tax system. The legislation enhances HMRC's ability to tackle promoters who commonly design, market and implement products which overwhelmingly do not work. It focuses on promoters who rely on non-cooperation with HMRC and may rely on concealment and mis-description of elements of their schemes to succeed. Such promoters must change their behaviour voluntarily or, if they do not do so, be subject to information powers which affect them, their intermediaries and their clients – meaning that promoters can be named and fined up to £1 million.

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