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MPs call on HMRC to 'name and shame' tax avoiders

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HMRC Letter 480

An influential group of MPs has called on HMRC to “name and shame” those who use aggressive tax avoidance scheme in a damning report published today.

The Public Accounts Committee has been investigating tax avoidance over the last few months and quizzing firms such as Google, Starbucks and Amazon on their tax planning.

PAC chair Margaret Hodge says tax avoidance schemes are currently “running rings around” HMRC, with the “die loaded in their favour”.

She says: “There is a lack of transparency that makes it very hard to find out who is involved in marketing or using these schemes. HMRC publicises details of schemes that do not work but does not name the promoters or the clients. We have seen how public anger and consumer pressure can influence large companies, such as Starbucks, to behave more responsibly.

“HMRC should publicly name and shame those who sell or use tax avoidance schemes in order to discourage such activity. With at least £5bn lost to tax avoidance each year, HMRC has got to get much more robust in its approach.”

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Readers' comments (23)

  • Tax aviodance is legal so why name and shame. Will they also name and shame everyone who has an ISA or contributes to pension?

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  • About time MP's were named and shamed for complete hypocrisy, fiddling expenses and malfeasance in public office. Oh and for being completely crass and stupid.

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  • "No man in the country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so to arrange his legal relations to his business or property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel in his stores. The Inland Revenue is not slow, and quite rightly, to take every advantage which is open to it under the Taxing Statutes for the purposes of depleting the taxpayer's pocket. And the taxpayer is in like manner entitled to be astute to prevent, so far as he honestly can, the depletion of his means by the Inland Revenue."
    Lord Clyde, 1929

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  • Is it just me, or do others practically foam at the mouth at this level of unbelievable hypocrisy?
    1. 600 of the most venal and bent individuals in the country are getting on their high moral horse whilst still diddling their expenses like mad, not cleaning their own stable and pushing for an unbelievable rise in their already far too high remuneration.
    2. Complete denial of the fact that the loopholes which may exist are entirely their own fault, for not drafting and enacting suitable legislation.
    3. Completely ignoring the fact that tax avoidance is perfectly legal – it is evasion that is illegal.
    4. An inability to recognise the correlation between taxes which are too high and the level of avoidance. Just look at where tax freedom day falls. Before long it will be 22nd of December! Reduce the tax and make avoidance less worthwhile; this has been shown to increase the tax trawl. (Take lessons from Maggie).
    5. If the Treasury is short of money – cut expenditure. Anyway most of what you receive is wasted.
    Personally I think a prolonged period of silence from these clots would be most welcome. For my part I shall show my distain by going out of my way to support Starbucks, Amazon and Google.

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  • I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with Harry and having nothing more to add... time to check my temperature and wrap a cold towel round my head...

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  • are they going to name themselves as dodgers?? sure every MP in the land is exempt from the pension lifetime allowance and is therefore a tax dodger.

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  • Would not publicising personal data about an activity which, at the time it was done, was perfectly legal be a breach of the Data Protection Act?

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  • Harry, I think it's time you retired. What a ridiculous comment.

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  • Steve
    What is ridiculous about Harry`s comments ? Perhaps you could enlighten us all and explain why you believe that to be the case.

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  • Harry is perfectly right. It is their responsiblity to produce a system that is fair to all citizens - if they can't do it, perhaps they should consider their position.
    It is probably a breach of human rights anyway to try to smear people for behaving in a completely legal fashion, so it's unlikely to happen. Just a gush of hot air from the committee instead of any realistic proposals

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