HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
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

I am 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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  1. Cromwell's speech to parliament:-

    "It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

    Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

    Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

    In the name of God, go!"

  2. Mr Casagranda, did you not sign the Offical Secrets Act in your employment with HMRC?

    Although you have not named the MP concerned surely you are in breach?

  3. Clive James is now spouting off that because other countries MPs etc are more corrupt than ours, then it's all OK here in comparison.

    So, knowing that some people heisted a hell of a lot of gold down south a while back - it'll be OK for me to go and hold up a village post office at gunpoint this afternoon then...

  4. Anom 12:18

    was that a none too subtle threat to Mr Casagranda?

  5. Anon 1.

    Nothing changes ...

    Anon 2.

    I would like to see the authorities take action Then we will know that, again, nothing has changed ...

  6. HMRC above the law but not above MPs? Sounds about right. I can see why these bastard MPs have been so arrogant. I'm sure they will carry on with shamelessness. Look at the Speaker?

    Cromwell might have been a tyrant, but word for word this can be applied to these scum-suckers today.

    The people wont suffer such injustices for too long and god knows we've all suffered enough.

    They've had their day in the sun and the people of this country are making a stand.

    What will become of HMRC when their Lord and Master Gordon Brown is out on his arse?

  7. "But Mr Casagranda, who is writing a book on his experiences at HMRC, said there was no similar ban on investigating famous names."

    Well that's wrong for a start!

  8. Further to my last (0840) post, and at risk of setting off further tirades of the usual ill-informed piffle, see:

    which refers to the special team in Cardiff that deals with BOTH MPs and celebrities, contrary to what Mr Casagranda suggests.

  9. In fact, I'm going to go one step further here and speculate on what the conversation was probably really like before it got sexed up (by Casagranda, the journos, or both) to make a good news story.

    If I had been the head of risk at this meeting and Casagranda had suggested a project on MPs' expenses, I would probably have taken him aside at the end to offer him a friendly reminder that it wasn't the job of his office to look into MPs as there was a separate unit that does it and staff at 'ordinary' compliance offices can find themselves having to answer a lot of awkward questions if they look up individuals on that particular list.

    Casagranda may or may not have interpreted this chat as a threat. The head of risk may well have come across a bit too firmly at the time. However, I strongly doubt that any warning would have been given that was as strong as is suggested by the headline. Everyone is given essentially that talk on day one, and it probably always contains a variation of "lose your job" somewhere in it, so yes, technically, it's a threat of the sack.

    However, for the head of risk to have reminded him of this talk sounds like an entirely reasonable thing to do. Depending on what had been said during the meeting he might not have been doing his job properly if he didn't say something.

    Now I've made a few assumptions here and I may well be wrong, but they are at least based on knowledge of the department and at least a passing consideration for human nature.

    Let's not lose sight of the fact that the guy's trying to promote a book! Everyone that reads this blog is, I hope, intelligent enough to realise that the truth of things like this usually lies somewhere between the official line and what fits the media's agenda that day!

  10. Maybe Sir John Kerr had the right idea.