PwC have at long last admitted that tax and morality must mix

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The pleasing FT headlines continue this morning. After news that Amazon has a tax avoidance case to answer comes this one:

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As the story relates:

The chairman of the world’s largest tax practice says tax advice has a moral dimension to it that professional services firms must keep in mind when advising clients.

Dennis Nally, chairman of the international arm of PwC, said that “it’s a pretty challenging environment” for tax: “A lot of tax laws on the books of individual countries were written years ago [ . . .] These may have been fit for purpose at one time but are coming under review as countries struggle with their own revenue base.”

I agree with him, but Ernst & Young (or EY as they now call themselves) don't: as the article notes they said last week that they thought that despite changes in the political environment they believed that their clients should carry on as before, and effectively play by the book, irrespective of the outcomes.

I have to say that the difference of opinion between these two does not surprise me, and is also, I suspect, genuine even if PwC may not, as yet, go as far as I do.

But their point on the need to review how tax - and I think the associated ethics and accounting work - is a good one. They need to come on board and start working with those who have been engaged with this issue for a long time.