PwC Sells Its Tax Lobbying Unit

In the midst of a growing controversy over tax-audit conflicts, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) sold its federal tax lobbying group to Clark/Bardes, a NASDAQ company that plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange next month.

PwC was believed to be the largest tax lobbying firm in the year 2000, when it earned approximately $9.5 million for tax lobbying. The tax lobbying group is led by Ken Kies, former Chief of Staff to the Joint Committee on Taxation of the U.S. Congress.

One of Washington's best known and most outspoken tax lobbyists, Mr. Kies has been known to oppose legislation to curb corporate tax shelters. In a presentation at a Financial Executives International tax seminar last month, Mr. Kies quoted Deputy Assistant Secretary of Tax Policy Pam Olson as saying, "The tax shelter problem at the corporate level has diminished. I'm not saying it’s gone, but it has rapidly declined. There is growing empirical evidence that it has moved beyond the corporate world and has taken hold in the small business area and among individuals."

PwC spokesperson David L. Nestor told the Washington Post the sale of the unit, known as the Federal Policy Group, was not related to Enron or the "scope of services" controversy and the firm would continue to provide tax advice and consulting to its clients.

Nevertheless, the Post sees the sale of the unit and Mr. Kies' departure as removing a "lightning rod," and it points out that the issue of tax consulting by accounting firms continues to be the subject of heated debate among policymakers, accountants and their clients.

Related AccountingWEB links
Enron Reopens Pandora’s Box of Tax-Audit Conflicts
Do Tax Services Impair Auditors’ Independence?

-Rosemary Schlank

You may like these other stories...

Renaissance avoided more than $6 billion tax, report saysThe Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said on Monday that a Renaissance Technologies LLC hedge fund’s investors probably avoided more than $6...
A new Gallup survey found that 58 percent of smokers in the United States see increased state and federal taxes on cigarettes as an act of unjust discrimination, while 39 percent believe the tax hikes are justified.The...
Liberal groups object to bill barring taxes on Internet accessThe Internet Tax Freedom Act hasn’t been a controversial bill. In fact, it’s so popular that senators are seeking to pair it up with a far more...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 24
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.
Jul 31
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.