UK lawmakers to quiz big accountants on tax avoidance
A spokesman for the Public Accounts Committee said it would hold a hearing on Jan. 31, at which senior tax specialists from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst and Young, KPMG, and Deloitte would testify.
Sources close to the committee said the tax advisors would likely receive a harsh grilling, akin to that meted out to executives from Google, Amazon and Starbucks in November, when the three were accused of engaging in "immoral" tax avoidance.
"It's about trying to cut the problem off at source. Most of these tax avoidance strategies are cooked up by the big four," one source close to the committee said.
A combatative hearing could be damaging for the firms, which have long enjoyed considerable influence in tax policy making in the UK.
The Conservative and Labour parties have received tax advice from the firms, representatives have participated in government consultative bodies on tax and former tax partners from KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers sit on the board of the UK tax authority.
The four firms declined to comment on the accusation that they had helped their clients avoid taxes - an entirely legal activity but one which has opened companies up to public criticism.
Last week, investment bank Goldman Sachs scrapped plans to delay paying bonuses to its bankers in Britain to exploit an income tax cut for top earners after a rash
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