Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I see that The Guardian has taken a snide sideswipe against accountants, in its coverage of its row with Tesco over tax avoidance.

"As is often the way, the tax had no sooner been introduced than some companies engaged smart accountants and lawyers to work out ways of avoiding what parliament had clearly intended....

But fleet-footed accountants and lawyers were still nimbler, knowing that UK tax legislation is rarely retrospective. A casual reading of the Treasury's repeated statements on SDLT avoidance can leave no doubt as to its frustration at the lengths to which companies would go to outwit the law - and at the sums draining away from the exchequer as a result.

Seemingly, the negative subliminal message being drip fed by the Guardian is that "smart" accountants are rather "devious" and are depriving the government of its "legitimate right" to collect as much tax as it wants.

The Guardian needs to remember that, as I have said before on www.hmrconline.com, tax avoidance is not illegal; we all avoid tax each year by using personal allowances.

The need to avoid tax would be considerably reduced if Brown simplified the tax system.

The ICAEW needs to launch a counter offensive, and counteract the Guardian's negative spin about our profession.

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