Tax avoidance by large corporates is the biggest balancing act for May

Calling for a new ‘spirit of citizenship’, she condemned ‘international companies who treat tax laws as an optional extra’.

Sean Wakeman, Tax Investigations Partner at leading national audit, tax and advisory firm Crowe Clark Whitehill, believes that the Prime Minister will struggle to balance this rhetoric with the economic reality:

“There definitely seems to be rhetoric from the PM to tackle the thorny issue of corporate tax avoidance, but whether this will be matched by actions remains to be seen.

“Large companies must continue to be encouraged to pay a fairer share of taxes but the Prime Minister will be acutely aware of the significant contributions that they do make to the Exchequer’s coffers from employment taxes, national insurance and VAT.

“With local elections looming in March of next year, the PM is clearly saying most of the things that the electorate wants to hear. Whether there will be a raft of measures focused against large corporates from Philip Hammond in the Autumn Statement only time will tell, but he will have to balance that with the delicate state of the economy post Brexit.”

Laurence Field, Head of Corporate Tax, looks at whether the May government will want to break with the past or pick up the baton:

“The May government has previously demonstrated a desire to airbrush the political legacy of George Osborne from the record.

“It will be interesting to see whether this extends to tax avoidance: Osborne tried to position the UK at the forefront of international moves to reduce tax avoidance, as well as introducing measures designed to strangle established planning strategies over time.

“The Autumn Statement will provide Phillip Hammond with his first opportunity to signal any change in approach to fiscal matters. With the government still trying to articulate its vision for a post-Brexit world, Hammond has the opportunity to show whether he wants to radically reform the tax system‎ or show more continuity with the approach of the last six years.”

Charlie Bard /