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Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.
Monday, 18 May 2009
Above The Law
It seems that our "honourable" members are regarded by HMRC as being above the law.
That at least is according to this article in The Sunday Express.
I assume that the "special status" of MPs, and the fact that HMRC seemingly treats them with kid gloves, is due to the fact that HMRC has been politicised during Brown's tenure of the Treasury and Number 10.
How ironic that the voters (ie ordinary taxpayers) are not treated by HMRC in such a deferential manner!
"TAX inspectors who suggested investigating MPs were threatened with the sack, a whistleblower claimed last night.
Thomas Casagranda, a former tax compliance officer with HM Revenue and Customs, said MPs' tax affairs were effectively 'above the law' because senior managers refused to scrutinise them.
Mr Casagranda, who quit his post at HMRC's Reading office 18 months ago, said he had been 'shocked' by their reluctance to act.
He confirmed he suggested an investigation after receiving a tip-off that an MP was failing to declare rental income from a property.
He said: 'During a routine meeting to discuss possible projects, such as investigating taxi drivers or subcontractors in the building in??d???u???stry, I suggested running a project on MPs.
'The meeting went on as normal but afterwards I was taken aside by the head of the regional risk intelligence team and told I would be 'out on my ear' if I mentioned MPs again. I was told that if I looked at an MP's tax return or checked them out on PAYE records I would face disciplinary proceedings.
'I was boiling with anger afterwards because I was effectively being told there was one law for MPs and one for everyone else. I was being leant on very heavily to drop it and it was quite clear that the manager who was leaning on me was being lent on himself from above. It was disgraceful.'
MPs' tax returns are dealt with by a special unit which also handles celebrities.
But Mr Casagranda, who is writing a book on his experiences at HMRC, said there was no similar ban on investigating famous names.
His claims will raise fresh concerns about the apparent impunity of MPs milking the system.
Dozens are thought to have avoided paying capital gains tax on their taxpayer-funded second homes by nominating them as their main residences for tax purposes.
Communities Secretary Hazel Blears last week paid £13,332 in capital gains tax after it emerged she had avoided it on the sale of a previous home.
She insisted she had done nothing wrong. Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell has also avoided paying capital gains tax in the past but has not offered to repay any cash.
In the wake of the expenses scandal HMRC has launched an inquiry into whether MPs have been routinely avoiding capital gains tax.
Last night it denied Mr Casagranda’s claims and insisted MPs had not been above the law.
A spokesman added: 'We cannot comment on the tax affairs of clearly identifiable groups of taxpayers. One of our key roles is policing the tax rules and we do this very effectively.' "
Tax does have to be taxing.
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