MPs: Ban 'insider' accountants

A committee of MPs is questioning the relationship between Britain's big four accountancy firms and the Treasury. They say it is "unhealthy" because they can use the information to help clients avoid tax. The Treasury has denied the MPs' report.

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Staff seconded to Treasury 'able to find tax loopholes'

The Public Accounts Committee highlighted the way some firms seconded staff to the Treasury to advise on technical issues in the drafting of legislation - only for the individuals concerned to return to advise clients on how to use those laws to avoid tax.

Through their work in advising government on changes to legislation they have a detailed knowledge of UK tax law, and the insight to identify loopholes in new legislation quickly.

We have seen what look like cases of poacher, turned gamekeeper, turned poacher again, whereby individuals who advise government go back to their firms and advise their clients on how they can use those laws to reduce the amount of tax they pay.

– PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE

Ridiculous conflict of interest 'fueling tax avoidance'

A group of MPs is questioning the relationship between Britain's big four accountancy firms and the Government in what has become an "unhealthy relationship".

The Public Accounts Committee says accountancy firms can use the information from the Treasury to help their clients avoid paying tax. Some companies employ staff who have temporarily worked in Whitehall.

The committee highlighted the way the firms seconded staff to the Treasury Credit: Press Association

The accusations of insider knowledge come from the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge. She says the practice represents a "ridiculous conflict of interest" which should be banned.

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