The four partners were visited by officials from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in the city on Wednesday, it emerged today.
In a statement, KPMG said it is cooperating with the HMRC investigation and that the four men have been placed on “administrative leave”.
KPMG said: “Pending further information and enquiry, we can confirm that four partners in our Belfast office are on administrative leave. As the matter is ongoing, KPMG is not in a position to make any further comments at this stage.”
The men in question have been named as Jon D’Arcy, Eamonn Donaghy, Arthur O’Brien and Paul Hollway, and constitute KPMG’s most senior staff in Northern Ireland.
The firm added that it does not have “any indication that this investigation relates to the business of KPMG or the business of our clients”.
HMRC said: “Officers arrested four individuals from Northern Ireland [on Wednesday] in connection with suspected tax evasion. We can’t comment further.”
Eamon Donaghy is KPMG’s head of tax in Belfast and has been heavily involved in the campaign to have corporation tax powers devolved to the power-sharing coalition at Stormont.
Last week, the Northern Irish parties reached a deal to save the power-sharing devolved government from collapse. Among the agreements secured following more than 10 weeks of negotiations was the right of the Northern Ireland Executive to set a low 12.5% corporation tax rate to compete with the Irish Republic in attracting multinational, foreign direct investment.
KPMG has been at the fore of a campaign to persuade the Treasury to grant Northern Ireland special corporation tax status.
Among the other KPMG executives arrested on Wednesday was Paul Hollway who is the firm’s head of corporate finance in Ireland.
As well as their work for KPMG, the four men are directors of a property investment company called JEAP Ltd.
The firm suffered heavy financial losses when the property market crashed in 2008. However, it is unclear at this stage if that forms part of the HMRC investigation.
This article was written by Henry McDonald Ireland correspondent, for theguardian.com on Thursday 26th November 2015 13.54 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010