The Treasury press release on the Swiss deal is out. Dave Hartnett, de facto boss of HMRC whose fingers are very obviously all over this deal says of it:
“The world has changed for tax evaders. A few years ago, nobody would have anticipated that we would conclude an agreement with Switzerland to tackle tax evasion.
Absolute nonsense: we already have the European Union Savings Tax Directive and an upgrade was close to delivery. Please don't talk rubbish Dave.
However, with the clear wish of Switzerland as well as the United Kingdom to ensure that tax is paid as it should be
How he has the gall to say this is beyond belief: the Swiss have fought every attempt to make sure people pay the right amount of tax - and still are. This deal is all about ensuring banking secrecy - whopse sole purpose always has been and is now to assista criminality - will remain intact, and it will. So Hartnett is simply not telling the truth.
But he carries on:
we are embarking on a new course which preserves important principles for each jurisdiction, and will be fair for all UK taxpayers.
No it is not. Those people who have paid the right amount of tax, openly and honestly will be galled to know that the boss of HMRC is delighted that those who evaded can n ow pay much less than they ever owed in an honesty box with no names attached and can rest confortable knowing that as a result they will never be prosecuted for their crimes. They shouldn't be pleased: they should be very, very angry that HMRc is headed by someone who is so happy to let tax evaders off the hook and I am sure they are.
Our strategy is working.
That's the one of supporting the UK's tax havens is it Dave?
We will secure significant sums of tax that some had thought we would never see.
Oh nonsense - the European Union Savings Tax Directive could have delivered so much more.
Not only does this agreement settle past liabilities and make arrangements to secure correct taxation in the future, it also gives HMRC more scope to find out about Swiss accounts.”
Now he's becoming ridiculous: we can ask about 500 a year but only if we can find out about them first. Fat chance Dave. You've just done a deal that guarantees anonymity.
Hartnett's rapidly become the biggest liability in the history of the Revenue. Vodafone. Goldman Sachs. Now this.
It's shocking that he's been allowed to lay waste to so much tax justice in such a short period of time.