By Daniel Hunter
As HMRC chiefs appeared before MPs on the Public Accounts Committee on Monday (5 November) to answer questions on how the UK authority collects tax from large foreign companies, the boss of the world’s largest independent financial advisory firm says politicians’ outrage on the matter is “hypocritical and misguided.”
In recent weeks, several major multinationals including Apple, Google, Facebook, eBay and Starbucks have come under scrutiny after the Public Accounts Committee claimed that they had collectively “avoided nearly £900 million of tax.”
“A growing number of politicians are ‘banging the drum’ on the issue of multinationals’ tax," Nigel Green, chief executive of the deVere Group, the world's largest independent financial advisory firm, said.
"They claim that by legally mitigating their tax obligations, these corporations are somehow failing the British public.
“It might be worth considering if the system needs to be changed, but it is hypocritical and misguided for MPs to berate these firms when they are acting within the letter and the spirit of current UK tax laws, which for more than 100 years have put ‘clear water’ between a company that trades with Britain and one that trades within Britain.
“Until those laws are modified — laws which are similar to those found in most countries around the world - the witch-hunt of these wealth and job-creating multinationals must be called-off.
“These foreign corporations are free to structure their business interests to take advantage of more tax-efficient regulations in other countries, so long as taxes are collected in accordance with where genuine economic activity is undertaken.”
Lin Homer, the chief executive of HMRC, amongst other HMRC bosses, faced the Public Accounts Committee on Monday. The Committee’s Chair, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, has called for US giants Google and Starbucks to also appear in front of the Committee, although a date has not yet been set.
Join us on