Tax avoidance debate finishes with close result

BDO's Stephen Herring narrowly wins Accountancy Age's tax avoidance debate

18 Jan 2013 Accountancy Age

By Calum Fuller

Richard Murphy and Stephen Herring

ACCOUNTANCY AGE'S first-ever debate has finished with a narrow defeat for the motion that tax avoidance is an unacceptable exploitation of the tax system.

Founder of Tax Research UK, Richard Murphy, stoutly defended the motion. However, readers and commentators voted in favour of the opposition – argued by BDO tax partner Stephen Herring – by a six-point margin, leaving the result 47% - 53%.

The debate delved into the heart of the matter, asking what tax avoidance is and where the line might be drawn in order to define what is considered abusive.

Nearly a thousand votes were cast and 128 comments were made by readers as they took part in the discourse.

To look back at the debate, click here.

Visitor comments

A Sad Day

I suspect that the timing of this debate has affected the result. Most tax practitioners will have been too busy to participate.

Posted by Phil Rees, 18 Jan 2013

Change of views?

It would be interesting to know whether the two protagonists have changed any of their views as a result of the debate.

Posted by Mark Wilton, 21 Jan 2013

A success for common sense

Tax is of itself amoral, thus the precise application of law to avoid it it perfectly acceptable. That regulators attempt to persuade the general public that avoidance is immoral is purely an excuse for their sloppy drafting of the current law. No proper accountant would condone tax evasion which is clearly illegal - for avoidance to be treated in the same manner would unacceptably blur the line between right and wrong and would lead to ludicrous precendents in the appliaction of law as we have already seen in certain applications of the human rights act

Posted by stuart gerrish, 21 Jan 2013




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