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, 13 December 2010

Confused!

Confused!
I have to admit that I am confused.

According to an article published on Integral Search and Selection HMRC has warned taxpayers that it never supports tax avoidance schemes, even those that have been assigned a scheme reference number (SRN).

HMRC has issued this warning in its Spotlights internet publication, which aims to outline the risks of being involved in any form of tax avoidance, whether intentionally or "unwittingly".

That being the case, how come it gave the green light to Vodafone's tax avoidance scheme?

Tax does have to be taxing.

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17 comments:

  1. Friends in high places? i.e. give in or we will talk to the PM.

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  2. Tax avoidance is not illegal and is highly moral, helping to keep cash out of the hands of thieving tinpot tyrants.
    Who gives a rat's arse what HMRC "thinks"?

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  3. 11:08: Sounds about right.

    15:00,

    Impressive! Most neo-liberals only go as far as saying that schemes designed to legally produce a tax result different from that intended by Parliament are not immoral but no messing around with Namby Pamby moral neutrality for you!

    Now there are a few assumptions coming up and yes, the relevance of my later questions depends upon these assumptions being correct. As I've tried to clearly signpost the bits that are assumption rather than inference, I'd be grateful if you'd refrain from flaming me if they're wrong and instead clearly explain which are wrong and why.

    Setting aside your moral certainty for a moment, I'm guessing that your definition of "avoidance" encompasses things like the use of ISAs and personal allowances as well as schemes designed to legally produce a tax result different from that intended by Parliament. Given the boldness of your claim that "tax avoidance is ... highly moral", I presume you are referring to the latter as well as the former.

    Do you also consider tax evasion to be moral, on the grounds that it too keeps cash out of the hands of the government? If you do then, although (as you've probably guessed) I disagree, I admire both your moral certainty and your consistency.

    If you consider evasion to be immoral but schemes designed to legally produce a tax result different from that intended by Parliament to be moral, could you please explain what difference(s) between these two types of behaviour, other than legality, lead(s) to this moral distinction?

    If legality is the sole determinant of morality in the field of tax mitigation, does that not rather imply that the "thieving tinpot tyrants" are the sole moral arbiters?

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  4. Lets face it, there will never be a day when both sides see eye to eye on the definition of "Tax avoidance".

    But when it comes to discussing morals I think HMRC staff have to tread very carefully.

    How much does the civil service still spend on first class travel? how much is spent on failed IT projects? how many staff suffer from bullying? How many telephone calls go unanswered?

    HMRC staff bang on about "Tax Avoidence" but already squander a lot of what is collected. How much would be wasted if they had even more of a budget to play with?

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  5. The staff - I presume you mean members of the junior civil service who comment on here - don't spend anything on 1st class travel. They also have no say over budgets or IT projects. They answer phones, if they have them, as soon as the previous call is dealt with - that is how call centres work. And they still have no control over budgets so wouldn't get to waste any of the extra money if large companies like vodafone paid what was owed.

    I'm more confused why some people think the majority of individuals and small companies should pay their share as decided by parliament but millionaires and the largest companies shouldn't.

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  6. 20:50,

    Thank you! You've said what I was thinking much more concisely than I would have had the discipline to! :)

    20:22,

    "Lets face it, there will never be a day when both sides see eye to eye on the definition of "Tax avoidance"."

    I know. That's why I've resolved to stop using the 'A' word when explaining my arguments.

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  7. As a member of the public I have no reason to differentiate between senior management, middle management or general staff. HMRC is an one entity to me.

    I just find it ironic when anyone talks about the morals of tax avoidance schemes when so much of the tax that is collected is wasted.

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  8. Impressive! Most neo-liberals only go as far as saying that schemes designed to legally produce a tax..

    Wow, Ken must be honoured! sounds like Leslie (Pantomine Dame) Strathie has found his blog and is getting one of her lackies to post the 'official line' shite on her behalf.

    The poster even conflates a comment about avoidance into evasion! Looks like HMRC are 'on message' with the governments propagander machine. A pox on all their houses.

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  9. "As a member of the public I have no reason to differentiate between senior management, middle management or general staff."

    So I have to tread carefully when I mention one set of parasites withholding money from the public because another set of parasites spend some of it on 1st class travel. As far as I can tell they are all working together to steal from me and most decent people in this country.

    As for 13 Dec 20:05
    I said this about him recently - no one manages to argue against his points so instead they resort to insults. Looks like 07:56 has no intention of changing a winning formula.

    I'm more confused why some people think the majority of individuals and small companies should pay their share as decided by parliament but millionaires and the largest companies shouldn't.

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  10. "So I have to tread carefully when I mention one set of parasites withholding money from the public because another set of parasites spend some of it on 1st class travel"

    Perhaps the good folk who work and pay their taxes feel somewhat pissed off with comments that spout the government approved line.

    As for saying that avoidance somehow is against the will of Parliament, what farcical comment. When all the current problems were developing into the current situation the good folk in Parliament had their snouts in the trough so deep they would'nt have given a shit what was going on as long as they could keep claiming their expenses. Most MPs dont know their arse from their elbow anyway and rely on hatchet men and woman like the pantomime dame and her acolytes. RIP Kenny, who's next for the exit gravy train?

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  11. "So I have to tread carefully when I mention one set of parasites withholding money from the public because another set of parasites spend some of it on 1st class travel. As far as I can tell they are all working together to steal from me and most decent people in this country."

    Not at all, you just have to realise that HMRC is viewed as an organisation to most people. The internal problems and structure are of no real interest to a lot of people. As stated before you do not really have room to criticise others behaviour when you own house is in complete disarray.

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  12. The government line is not to question the Vodafone deal.

    Ken and his supporters on here have previously stated that it is wrong to question or to try to understand the wisdom of our great and glorious leaders in parliament. They know everything.

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  13. Not at all, you just have to realise that HMRC is viewed as an organisation to most people. The internal problems and structure are of no real interest to a lot of people. As stated before you do not really have room to criticise others behaviour when you own house is in complete disarray.

    My house is fine thanks. Although I would love overall responsibility for the civil service/government of the UK and the rewards that come with that responsibility I have some way to go before I become an absolute monarch. Until then I will continue to hold opinions and I will sometimes express them on here.

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  14. Anon @ 11:23 "My house is fine thanks."

    If you work for HMRC then that statement shows you are just part of the HMRC PR machine.

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  15. @ 11:54 Only if I own HMRC.

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  16. @ 11:23

    HMRC PR Machine!!!!!!!!

    You are surely having a laugh?

    The organisation I work for couldn't give away free beer, let alone run a PR campaign...........I refer you to Dave " no apology required" Hartnett.

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  17. It's getting confusing because we're all anonymous! For the avoidance (!!) of doubt, I posted the 13/12 20:05, 13/12 21:18 and 14/12 07:56 comments.

    It's a shame that most attempts at sensibly debating this subject get dragged down to the usual mud-slinging.

    It's been asserted that I'm a "lackie" (sic) promoting some sort of official line. I wonder how the individuals who see me as such can reconcile that with the misgivings I have expressed about the introduction of a GAAR, admittedly in a different thread, not to mention the final part of this comment.

    "As for saying that avoidance somehow is against the will of Parliament, what farcical comment."

    Could you please point me in the direction of this comment? As I've previously explained, I'm making a point of refraining from using the 'A' word wherever possible, because it invariably leads to a pointless and rather tiresome argument over semantics. I was specifically talking about schemes designed to legally produce a tax result different from that which Parliament intended, not avoidance. It doesn't matter what you, I or anyone else (sorry, couldn't help myself - see page 8 para 3) call such schemes!

    Perhaps you do not consider that there is any such thing as schemes designed to produce a tax result different from that which Parliament intended. If so I'd be happy to share links to some more tax case reports.

    Apparently, as an HMRC employee, I'm in no position to talk about morals. It seems it's irrelevant that I'm expressing personal political beliefs in a personal capacity. (Does this mean I should not be entitled to vote, by the way? Civil Servants get a pretty hard time in the press, but I don't think even the Mail has gone that far!) Fortunately, reading back through this thread, I think you can rest easy, as the nearest I came to expressing my own moral position was the words "I disagree", and that was in relation to evasion.

    It was in fact 13/12 15:00 who expressed a moral point of view; I and 2(?) other posters, who may or may not be HMRC employees, asked for clarification and expressed surprise respectively. I somehow suspect 13/12 15:00 probably isn't HMRC staff! Actually, the last time I made a comment about morality on this site was back in August, during what was actually quite an interesting exchange of views, though it was before I saw the error of my ways on the 'A' word...

    For me, a more important moral issue is how the government should prevent schemes designed to legally produce a tax result different from the one intended by Parliament, and address ones that aren't prevented. Though we all-too-often see Politicians failing in it (which is of course itself a moral issue) the government has a duty to ensure that their law they introduce and their executive management ensures that their pledges are realised. If they say that they are going to tax group X in way Y, they need to ensure that happens. Politically, the ideal situation for any government is to keep everyone happy. One way of doing that in the area of tax is by selling to the public the notion that they are promoting progressive taxation, while letting big business get around that through loopholes and/or weak regulation. Like the last government, this one is very close to big business...

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