Why can’t the ICAEW come out against tax evasion in tax havens?

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From this morning’s Independent:

Murphy believes that the number of tax havens could dwindle from 40 to about 10 over the next decade if Automatic Information Exchange were to be implemented.

“This should be pretty popular,” he says. “We are talking about 1 per cent of the population who are involved in tax havens. But the tax loss as a result is extraordinary.”

On the other side of the fence, the big accountancy firms, which often advise big business, and the mainstream accountancy profession, are not in favour of AIE.

While both the Chartered Institute of Taxation and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) say they back moves to greater openness and transparency, neither wants AIE. “There is a serious issue about privacy and confidentiality,” says Ian Young, technical manager of the ICAEW.

Why oh why is my own professional body always on the wrong side when it comes to tax compliance?

Is it that hard to do the right thing and say ‘yes please — let’s collect the tax that is due and cut the tax evaders out of the system?’ Apparently so — because the ICEAW’s excuses do, as ever, actually say the exact opposite.

Remember the European Union Savings Tax Directive, which is based on automatic information exchange, was promoted for one reason and one reason only: to stop tax evasion. And still the ICAEW cannot support the process.

Shame on them!