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Accountancy Age tax avoidance debate now live

Tax Justice Network founder Richard Murphy and BDO tax partner Stephen Herring to oppose each other on tax avoidance in Accountancy Age's first 'Debate'

10 Jan 2013 Accountancy Age

By Kevin Reed

Richard Murphy and Stephen Herring

ACCOUNTANCY AGE is delighted to present its first Debate.

The tax avoidance debate will look at the heart of the matter: What is tax avoidance, and where is the line drawn between legitimate tax planning and unreasonable, unfair strategies that starve the government's coffers?

Two of the foremost voices on tax, Tax Justice Network founder Richard Murphy and BDO tax partner Stephen Herring, will post their opposing views on the issue – with you voting on who has won the debate.

The debate is an interactive forum where the audience can discuss important topical issues, using an ‘Oxford-style' debate, across the course of a week.

There are five main protagonists:

The Proposer: In this debate, Tax Justice Network founder Richard Murphy proposes that tax avoidance is unacceptable.

The Opposer: In this debate, BDO tax partner Stephen Herring suggests that there is room for legitimate, non-abusive, tax planning.

The Guest: An expert ‘guest', Pinsent Masons partner Ray McCann, gives his opinion - independent of the proposer and opposer - on the second day of the debate.

The Moderator: Accountancy Age editor Kevin Reed will act as moderator for the debate, providing further thoughts and background to the issue being discussed, as it progresses.

You: The audience can interact with the debate at every stage. As the debate progresses day-by-day, a live online comment section will appear for you to give your opinion and discuss the debate with other audience members. You can vote at any point when the debate is live to determine an overall ‘winner' - and you can change your mind as many times as you want until the debate closes.

The debate begins on Monday 14 January, and runs until Friday 18 January. The whole debate will remain archived on the site to view. Click here to visit the debate website.

You can also take part in the debate through Twitter at #AADebate

Visitor comments

Good idea

I think this is a good idea. Whilst evasion is relatively clear-cut, I do not think the general media - nor amongst accountants - has there been sufficient analysis of "avoidance" which covers a wide spectrum of grey in morals if not law.

In my mind the two key concepts are "artificiality" and "commercial reality".

Posted by David, 11 Jan 2013

time for a challenge

I do hope someone will pick up Richard on his mistakes. For example we live in a country where we can do things provided they are not illegal - so if there is a grey area in the law it is by definition allowed!!!!!

Posted by alastair harris, 14 Jan 2013

Tax Avoidance

As I understand it HMRC has for a long time been able to 'look behind the curtain' of avoidance schemes and decide if they do not reflect real transactions. I belirve they could have held some recent schemes as sham.

Posted by John Pope, 14 Jan 2013

There's no such thing as tax avoidance

Tax laws define what taxes need to paid. If they aren't adhered to it is illegal tax evasion. Everything done outside of that is tax planning and is legal. If HMRC don't like the tax laws they should get them changed.

Posted by Dave Chaplin, 16 Jan 2013

 

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