Commenting on the release of the ‘Paradise Papers’, Jonathan Riley, Head of Tax at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said:
"Along with some potentially embarrassing headlines, what the Paradise Papers also demonstrate is the labyrinthine complexities of tax systems in jurisdictions around the world making them impenetrable to the everyday citizens governed by them. This should serve as a wake-up call to the tax industry, which includes the governments, regulators and commercial advisors around the world, who collectively run the risk of further alienating the people who fund our civic systems.
"Simplification of the tax system should also be accompanied by an education of those individuals governed by it in order to avoid misunderstanding and misuse. For instance, the use of offshore structures in and of themselves does not automatically implicate their users in any wrong doing. Trusts are often used in order to protect minors or high profile individual’s rights to confidentiality.
"Whilst Grant Thornton UK has always adopted a policy of full disclosure with tax authorities as regards our clients affairs - both in the UK and elsewhere - it is clear that grave concerns remain about the role of offshore advisors. We do not support tax planning that involves any degree of artificiality and we are embracing our role in rebuilding trust in the integrity of the UK tax regime in order for a more vibrant economy to evolve. For instance, we are currently working with Future Fit on benchmarking a range of purposeful business measurement criteria, including tax.”