Margaret Hodge (Chairman) made Jack feel very welcome, by stating that the committee would not "let matters rest from last week".
Hodge went on to say that the Cabinet Secretary (GOD - he who soon leaves orifice) had requested a meeting, and that the committee would decide after that meeting what ‘further action’ it was going to take wrt HMRC.
PAC could force open the settlement agreements that forgave the giant vampire squid (Goldman Sachs) £10M of tax and Vodafone £4.75BN. There are also two other companies with similar tax agreements with HMRC that remain secret.
Hartnett told PAC that HMRC was ready to talk in confidence, and would ‘support the NAO’ in its work.
How very "nice" of him and HMRC!
Does that not sound as though HMRC and Hartnett are getting a tad above themselves?
Have I not warned many times on this site about HMRC taking on powers and politicising itself, in an attempt to place itself above its brief of being a bureaucracy whose mission should be solely to collect taxes in an efficient and cost effective manner?
Anyhoo, Jack confirmed that he would write to the committee regarding legal advice received on taxpayer confidentiality. He claimed that he was in discussions with lawyers, and would clarify the precise rules governing taxpayer confidentiality "by Wednesday" (doesn't he know the rules after all those years in the job?).
Stephen Barclay MPO accused Jack of misusing confidentiality rules to "cover up his own mistakes".
Jack admitted that he had not sought legal advice before settling the case with Goldman, based on the view that HMRC could not pursue it because of the technicality.
Mr Barclay retorted that it "sounded like" he had "cut a deal and didn't tell anyone".
Jack blustered that there was "far more" to the case than had been discussed, but it could only be revealed in a confidential session.
The whole case seemed "very odd", said Mr Barclay.
Enjoy watching Jack's encore performance via this link Jack's Back.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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