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PwC controversy could lead to code of conduct for tax advisers

By Neasa MacErlean

06 February 2015 at 07:45 BST

The UK government is being urged to drop accountancy giant PwC from its public procurement work and to sanction firms which break a proposed code of conduct - in a report which accuses PwC of promoting tax avoidance 'on an industrial scale'.

The report comes from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Commons. The chair of that committee, Margaret Hodge, has also called for PwC to be banned from public procurement work. She said: 'We should use public procurement as a lever to influence behaviour.' 


The report follows leaks last November into the tax arrangements of over 300 PwC clients, many of which were using Luxembourg bases and other techniques to cut their tax costs. PwC advises IKEA, Burberry, Amazon and many other household names. 


The MPs on the PAC believe that a stricter regime should be set up to a tax advisory profession which has not successfully regulated itself. The MPs say: 'Unless HMRC [Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs] takes urgent action, this irresponsible activity will go unchecked, causing harm to both the public finances and the reputations of the companies involved.' PwC says it does not agree with the conclusions reached by the PAC on its work but it said that it needed to do more to explain its role, and it said: 'We agree the tax system is too complex, as governments compete for investment and tax revenues.' Source: The Independent


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