I’ve welcomed a new line of enquiry by HM Revenue & Customs on offshore accounts, reported this morning. In saying so I did, however, imply that I thought HMRC was not asking, systematically, the right questions to tackle the systemic issues of tax evasion in our economy.
So it seems beholden on me to suggest a few lines of enquiry I’d open if I was a tax inspector. They have to be:
c) Highly likely to result in high quality information leading to worthwhile enquiries
d) Aimed at tax evasion
e) Aimed at higher net worth individuals
Let’s start with this idea: I’d like HMRC to write to all public schools in the country and ask them a simple question:
Please would you supply the names and addresses of all parents, guardians and carers making payment of school fees in respect of a pupil attending your school who have settled total liabilities exceeding £500 in cash in the last two years?
If you do not have a record of the name of the person making such payments in respect of a pupil please advise the names and addresses of all the pupil in question’s parents / guardians.
I have reason to believe that payment of school fees in cash is a commonplace practice.
There’s only one explanation for it – that the money is untaxed.
And the advantage of asking schools is that the identity of the payment has to be unambiguously associated with a named person and address.
I’d expect a significant revenue yield from enquiries resulting from such letters.
And for the record, I’m not seeking commission 🙂