Big four in firing line over offshore offices

| 30/01/2011

(Daily Mail): The Big Four accountancy firms have come under attack for maintaining on average more than 20 offices each in offshore tax havens despite countries working together to crack down on tax avoidance. The four firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young – have 81 offices in offshore tax havens, according to new research by Financial Mail. MP Chuka Ummuna, who earlier this month confronted Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond over the banks’ 300 offshore subsidiaries, said: “There’s a whole industry out there dedicated to helping people avoid tax that will increasingly come under the microscope.

"The more people find out about large companies and rich individuals failing to meet their obligation to society in these austere times the more they will demand action.”

John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network, said: “The Big Four are deeply embedded in the tax haven world. They’re major players in shaping the laws and regulations of these places and encouraging clients – high net worth individuals and corporate clients – to maximise their tax avoidance through such places."

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