Chairwoman, UK Parliament's Public Accounts Committee
Like her or loathe her, there is no doubt that Margaret Hodge, chairwoman of the UK House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC), has had a strong influence on the international tax environment. The PAC hearings prompted a number of other governments to investigate the tax affairs of large multinationals, particularly those of Amazon, Google and Starbucks and also to question the involvement of the Big 4 accounting firms.
Representatives from business, civil society and tax advisory firms have provided their comments about Hodge’s influence so far this year.
William Morris, GE & CBI Tax Committee Chair
“Margaret Hodge and the PAC have clearly raised issues that are of deep concern to the public. Business now needs to respond clearly to those concerns by engaging in the debate and making its case.”
John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network
“Margaret has been a formidable parliamentarian, taking on - and winning - some crucial debates about tax and democracy in the age of the digital economy. Her Committee has inspired parliamentarians around the world to engage on the crucial issue of how to tackle tax avoidance by transnational corporations.”
Jason Collins, partner Pinsent Masons UK
“[Margaret] has made a vital contribution to the debate on tax - raising awareness of fundamental issues which are now being addressed, such as the taxation of the digital economy. She has also set a high benchmark for HMRC, business and the tax profession to live up to.
“However, she is not always right - often tarring the whole tax profession with the same brush, when the most egregious behaviour sits only with a minority. It also doesn't help that she does not recognise that sometimes the UK does not levy tax or grants relief because it wants - and needs - to compete against other countries for investments and jobs. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with tax competition and companies should not be lambasted for using official reliefs and tax breaks.”
Donald Korb, Sullivan & Cromwell, US
“Margaret Hodge’s influence in the world of tax now seemingly extends beyond the shores of the UK in the sense that some in the US believe that the idea for the Apple hearing in the US Congress this past May can probably trace its origins directly back to her efforts on the PAC to shine a spotlight on corporate taxpayers who she believes are not paying the appropriate amount of tax notwithstanding the fact that the taxpayer may in fact be fully compliant with the existing tax laws.”
The Global Tax 50 2013