Ex-Andersen players form new tax alliance

A group of tax boutiques formed from the ashes of Andersen Legal have linked up with other former big-four refugees to form a global tax alliance independent of the large accountants.

Nine independent tax firms have launched the Taxand alliance, with firms in France, Germany, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the US. Negotiations with UK firms are underway. It is hoped that the UK will be the first jurisdiction added, as Taxand aims to double the amount of countries that it covers within 18 months.

“This is the first initiative worldwide to forge a tax alliance which allows firms to share knowledge and tax innovations, while providing our clients with a real independent network of international tax competencies,” claimed Frederic Donnedieu de Vabres of French firm Arsene, who coordinated Taxand.

Donnedieu de Vabres launched Arsene after Andersen Legal merged with Ernst & Young in 2002. Indian firm BMR & Associates and Luxembourg’s Atoz were also launched by former managing partners of Andersen Legal. Garrigues Tax Advisers was the Spanish arm of Andersen and Alvarez & Marsal, a US consulting firm launched in 1983, which created Alvarez & Marsal Tax Advisory Services last year with former Andersen partners.

Swedish firm Skeppsbron Skatt was created by a group of partners from KPMG in August 2003 following the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Switzerland’s Tax Partner was launched by a group of partners from Ernst & Young in 1997, long before Enron destroyed the big four’s multidisciplinary partnership dreams.

Even the established independents – Germany’s Goutier & Partners, launched in 1990, and Italian firm Fantozzi & Associati, formed in 1975 – are run by Andersen alumni. The alliance will total 111 international and 547 tax practitioners in total.