“[Mossack Fonseca] says it cannot be blamed for failings by intermediaries, who include banks, law firms and accountants”.
The last word of the previous sentence from the Guardian’s website does not bode well for the profession.
There could be a double whammy here. First, the Guardian seems to think that accountants, though not necessarily those in Britain, have been facilitating fraud. Secondly, a number of the 300,000 companies will have been utilised, sometimes illegally, for the benefit of those in all walks of life - including our profession.
Am I the only accountant who is not particularly surprised about suggestions that the odd accountant across the globe might have been helping the super-rich to become super-richer?
From initial reports, it sounds as if the Panamanian leak could lead to prosecutions around the world with professionals, their clients and associates facing years of hell and then long prison sentences.
Well, it’s about time. Tax is our nation's lifeblood and accountants earn enough to pay their fair share. Those who use scams like this to rip off the rest of us will now have to reap what they've sown. Whether they are British or foreign doesn’t make any difference. They should be paying tax at a decent rate somewhere.
It can only be a matter of time before much more detailed implications leak out. At the moment, it sounds as if everyone from Vladimir Putin to his Icelandic equivalent and football officials might be asked to answer some rather embarrassing questions. That is just day one.
Bearing in mind that Mossack Fonseca is only the fourth biggest provider of offshore services in the world, I wonder how long it will take for the authorities to take collective action against their three bigger brethren.
Surely it is only a matter of time before David Cameron and those of his global colleagues who do not end up losing their jobs as a result of this scandal take action.
One possible consequence is the recovery of billions in fraudulently evaded tax in the UK alone. If that is the case, not only could we save British Steel (as is likely to be renamed) but also the health service and so much else that is going horribly wrong in our impecunious country.
The good news for many of us is that the additional funding will provide the ability to hire lots more European immigrants to do jobs that none of us fancy. In return, the tax threshold could be raised to at least £15,000 and the 45% rate eliminated completely.
While some of you might be shaking in your boots, I’m looking forward to the revelations over the next few days but genuinely hope that not too many of our esteemed and highly respected colleagues find their names in the papers.
About The Imprudent Accountant
Someone who should know better, but can't resist the occasional rant about the more exasperating aspects of the accountancy profession.