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MPs call on HMRC to name and shame tax avoiders

HMRC Letter 480

An influential group of MPs has called on HMRC to name and shame those who use legal tax avoidance scheme in a damning report published this week.

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.”

Bloomsbury Financial Planning partner Jason Butler says: “Morality and the law are two separate issues. It is absolutely outrageous that someone’s personal tax affairs could be paraded in public because it is viewed as not morally right.”

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