UK accountants face tax grilling

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BRITAIN’S top accountants are to be quizzed over their role in helping big companies minimise their tax bills, as politicians across Europe consider new rules on avoidance.

The Public Accounts Committee will hold a hearing on 31 January. Sources said the tax advisers could receive a harsh grilling, similar to that meted out to executives from Amazon, Google and Starbucks in November when they were accused of engaging in “immoral” tax avoidance.

“Most of these tax avoidance strategies are cooked up by the big four,” said one source. The big four firms declined to comment on the accusation that they helped their clients avoid taxes – an entirely legal activity but one which has opened companies up to public criticism.