The government's plans to implement a Diverted Profits Tax (DPT) have been questioned by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the body, said nobody wants profits that should be subject to UK tax "escape the net".

As a result, he believes it is right that the government is taking steps to "capture all income artificially diverted from the UK".

However, he stated that while ACCA welcomes the measure "in principle", policymakers must ensure that legislation does not deter global companies from doing business in the UK.

In addition, Mr Roy-Chowdhury said any law must not stop these firms "from making tax contributions to the UK Exchequer through the basket of taxes they already pay, such as income tax on their employees, national insurance, VAT and duties.

He described the plans laid out by the chancellor as a "highly aggressive piece of legislation", as a multinational firm will be required to "effectively incriminate itself upfront and then argue its way out of the situation". This, he stated, could be "reputationally damaging" to the UK.

Mr Roy-Chowdhury also pointed out that while the UK does not regard DPT as corporation tax, this will not necessarily be the case in other jurisdictions.

Indeed, he said "we cannot see mutual agreement being obtained from all the UK’s double tax treaty partners - and hence subject to rules outside of the UK's treaty obligations". 

He suggested that multinational companies might opt to challenge the rules, as they are "extra-territorial" and wrap the UK up in "significant levels of litigation".

Mr Roy-Chowdhury acknowledged that DPT has been devised to generate an extra £1 billion worth of economic activity in Britain.

However, he said it would have been more productive for the country to have waited until the OECD's work on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting was completed.

He stated that the UK has "jumped the gun" by acting now, with the new law possibly proving to be "too much too soon".

Simon Newsham, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood, commented: "This may lead to a number of multinational companies starting to unwind their international tax structures. Whilst the government may have jumped the gun, it is widely believed that the chancellor did not clamp down as much as he would have liked prior to the BEPS review being completed. Certainly, more is in store for companies using tax efficient cross-border structures.”