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ACCA 'welcomes' fight against tax evasion

04/06/13

Tax evasion is an issue that has featured heavily in the press in recent months.

Major global brands - such as Google and Starbucks - have been accused of organising their tax affairs in an immoral way and taking advantage of special deals with certain countries to reduce the amount of tax they have to pay.

On top of this, a number of celebrities - including comedian Jimmy Carr - were caught in a programme that was aggressively trying to help millionaires avoid paying tax.

All of this means the issue is now being debated on a European level and the ACCA is glad to see that action is going to be taken. The body recognises the need for better coordination on taxation matters at national, EU and international level.

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at ACCA, said he cannot remember a time when "so much political capital" has been invested in the issue, which means real progress could be made on the matter in the coming months and years.

"Progress on automatic exchange of information in the area of taxation of savings would be a very significant step, given that the issue has been discussed for many years but unanimous agreement has been impossible so far. If the IT arrangements can be sorted, the automatic exchange system has the potential to work quite effectively," he added.

While the Confederation of British Industry has said a competitive tax system is a requirement for the UK to prosper in a globalised economy, its system should still be fair and proper.

Mr Roy-Chowdhury added ACCA is glad the EU is taking an active interest in the issue and wants to see a package of measures agreed upon promptly. Among the policies it is keen to see developed are a strengthening of the fight against VAT fraud and a change in how the reverse charge mechanisms operate. He also thinks the code of conduct on business taxation needs to be strengthened.

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