This picture is circulating on Twitter, summarising what it is claimed is Labour's anti-tax avoidance policy for the election:
I have to say I hope this is not it. The big problem is what is not there. Start with this list:
- Public country-by-country reporting
- Full accounts of all companies on public record
- A tope down reform of HMRC to end its capture by corporate interests
- Additional resources for HMRC
- An end to the HMRC office closure programme
- Investment in Companies House so that it can enforce company law which it does not do now
- A review of all tax reliefs and allowances and an assessment of their future
- A general anti-avoidance principle (we already have a rule)
- Alignment of tax rates to reduce the incentive to avoid
- Automatic information exchange from UJ banks to HM Revenue & Customs on which UK owned companies have bank accounts to make sure that corporation tax returns are demanded of them, and are submitted.
I'd list all of these as higher priority than anything on the list above. I could probably add several more before I got to many of them.
The reasons are obvious. Of course country-by-country reporting we can all see is more important that tax returns no one can use.
And having full accounts is the pre-condition for any supplier vetting process but right now we don't have access to them.
And without Companies House and HMRC being properly resourced none of the above work.
I'm not saying this list is wrong. I'm saying that if that is the list the serious stuff is missing. And I am very much hoping it isn't.