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About In House Tax

About In House Tax

This weblog is a news and views site for tax professionals within the UK and international in-house tax community.  You will find information about appointments and people moves in and around the in-house tax market, issues affecting the in-house tax professional, opinions on the state of the tax job market, updates on tax technology, and other general thoughts of the day.

Hope you find it useful.

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Location: St Albans, United Kingdom

This site has been developed by Simon Godley, who also runs the niche tax recruitment company Talentpool Selection . Simon spends a lot of his time placing tax specialists into FTSE companies, large in-bound groups and some professional services organisations. He also recruits and is well networked around the UK tax technology and VAT markets.

Tax News

Vodafone Head of Tax views on tax avoidance

Friday, 9 May 2008


Following my profile of Joel Walters, Group Head of Tax of Vodafone, on this blog back in December 2007, he has recently made some interesting comments regarding tax avoidance. He feels that tax agencies can become too obsessed with the issue.

In an interview with the Chartered Institute of Taxation and The Association of Taxation Technician's journal Tax Adviser, Joel Walters said: 'There is a danger, I think, that multi-national corporations in particular are perceived as avoiding tax in respect of how they structure their operations, and the first thing I'd say is that tax avoidance, defined as not paying the amount of tax the law requires, is actually very rare.'

He added that it was also 'very rare' for tax to drive the business decisions of multi-nationals.

The big numbers involved in tax mean a perception is created that there are big problems. 'That creates an illusion that there are significant numbers of issues. Then I'm concerned to some extent that once this perception begins to permeate the taxing agency, what tends to happen is that the focus comes on enforcing the tax loss in response to what, I think, is largely overestimated tax avoidance, and all the effort goes on enforcement in those areas.'

Vodafone has been at the centre of some of the biggest tax issues in terms of value in recent years. It is involved in a £2bn dispute with HM Revenue & Customs over a Luxembourg subsidiary created to facilitate the Mannesman merger in 2000, and faces a separate action in India too.

Tax issues are about integrity, Walters said: 'A corporation, and individual tax people, must feel that they are comfortable with the actions they have taken and the way they have gone about doing their business.'

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posted by Simon Godley


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