HMRC, ignoring tax avoidance, being uncharitable on error

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From Private Eye:

Good to see that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) knows who the real tax-dodging villains are in Britain. Having let Vodafone and Goldman Sachs off millions in tax, it's been commendably ruthless with… a small charity for disabled children. ...

The charity has been whacked with a £16,000 tax bill, dating from an accounting error made in the early 1990s when the centre was run by completely different people. The charity has been given a year to find the cash, which will eat up the proceeds of dozens of the raffles, sponsored walks and coffee mornings that usually keep the service afloat.
We can't comment on their particular tax bill, but we do wonder if the Big Boys would have faced the same treatment. Private Eye observes:

"Meanwhile, why does accountancy firm Deloitte remain such a favourite of HM Revenue and Customs' tax boss when it is arguably the biggest tax avoidance drain on the British economy? A parliamentary question from Tory MP David Davis reveals that HMRC's business-friendly tax boss Dave Hartnett has met Deloitte UK chairman David Cruickshank no fewer than 48 times since 2006.
. . .
Under Cruickshank the firm's tax division, a tribunal recently exposed, also ran a £140m scheme for bankers from Deutsche Bank to dodge tax on their bonuses via a Cayman Islands share scheme. . . . this exploits tax laws that industry specifically asked for to help investment, even a member of the tax industry told the Eye: “It really is taking the piss."

Read the rest here.

One set of rules for the elites, another for the rest of us.

Note: reposted from Tax Justice Network Blog, with permission

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