A complex tax avoidance scheme being used by transport group Stagecoach to wipe £11m off its tax bill has been defeated in the tax courts.
In a 56-page ruling, a judge, Gordon Reid QC, found that the scheme, devised with the help of tax experts at KPMG, fell foul of tax avoidance legislation.
The scheme involved shifting money between companies within the Stagecoach group to create a large loss in one of them without a corresponding gain in any other.
I know what will be said: this was an old scheme and so part of history because everything has changed now.
Except it wasn’t: this dates from 2011 and shows that KPMG were still manufacturing tax avoidance schemes at the time.
The scheme was rightly struck down: it sought an artificial tax loss. But three questions remain.
How many more such schemes have yet to emerge?
Has KPMG stopped this practice now, and how do we know?
How can we be sure it will not happen again?
KPMG’s comments would be welcome.