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MPs slam HMRC for snail pace in handling tax avoidance

HM Revenue and Customs has come under fire from MPs for being too slow in its tougher stance against tax avoidance.

The accusers also said that the body was failing to deal with firms taking advantage of global tax structures in a bid to minimise British tax liabilities.

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the influential Public Accounts Committee, described HMRC’s response to tax avoidance as being “unacceptably slow” in a report.

Hodge criticised the tax authority for how long it is taking to deal with the Liberty tax scheme, which has been in the press recently due to involvement with celebrities. She further attacked HMRC for its slow pace in responding to information regarding the Falcani list, which recognised 3,600 individuals in the UK potentially engaging in tax avoidance.

Hodge appealed to HMRC to take more action in dealing with firms manipulating global tax structures. She said that recent changes in the tax regime in the UK have been questioned by global bodies, such as the European Commission and OECD, as engaging in harmful tax activities. She commented:

“These changes, including the introduction of the patent box relief, make it easier for global companies to avoid paying tax in the jurisdictions where they make a profit.”

HMRC may not immediately act in response to Hodge’s report, but it will likely toughen up its stance eventually. This is exactly why firms cannot afford to rest on their laurels when it comes to accurate accounts reporting. Fortunately, there are a number of accountants in the Wirral available to help ensure that records are kept accurate and up to date.

Posted by Peter
November 25, 2014

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