Last week I discussed nPower's tax. Of course its affairs are all legal, but I made the suggestion that it seems its UK operations are structured to make sure no tax is paid in this country. Now the Guardian reports:
Controversy around Britain's energy industry will intensify on Monday amid revelations that the former head of a low-tax-paying power provider has been hired to help oversee HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and a warning that a new price regime demanded by the regulator, Ofgem, could still mean consumers paying £55m more a year than they should.
RWE npower was at the centre of a storm last week after admitting it had paid £2m, £3m and nothing in tax in the years 2009-2011, but now it transpires that Volker Beckers, its former boss, has been appointed as a non-executive director at the HMRC.
He's in good company, with former KPMG and PWC partners who have no doubt seen their incomes boosted over the years by the sale of tax avoidance by the ir firms.
I have made the point before, and I will make it again, that this is no way to organise a tax authority. H M Revenue & Customs should be run by people who are committed to the social value of tax, not by people who believe it is best avoided.
There's more on this in 'Over here and under-taxed'.