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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.
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Did HMRC Break The Law?
The Guardian reports that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is looking into claims, from an HMRC whistleblower, that Dave "Jack" Hartnett's deal with Vodafone to waive £7BN of tax may have been outwith the powers (ultra vires) of HMRC (ie illegal).
The whistleblower also claimed that the agreement that HMRC claimed let the giant vampire squid (Goldman Sachs) off £10M was in fact worth £20M.
£10M here, £10M there; details mere details!
Margaret Hodge, chair of the committee, told the Guardian that she had received the new allegations from someone with an apparent detailed knowledge of the deals and confirmed that a senior counsel may now assess them.
"The main allegation is that senior officials at Revenue and Customs have acted ultra vires [beyond their powers] and we are duty bound to take that seriously."
I wonder if the whistleblower is part of "Dissent"?
Jack has thus far avoided detailed scrutiny by citing legal privilege. That defence, if the allegations are valid, has just been blown out of the water.
However, HMRC is standing by its guns and is quoted:
"We are entirely confident that our approach to large business tax settlements is the right one. This approach has brought in more than £13bn from large businesses since 2006.
We have not seen the material which the Guardian tells us may be referred for counsel's opinion so it would be wrong to comment further....
Dave Hartnett's evidence to the PAC [public accounts committee] is entirely consistent and accurate.
Mr Hartnett made clear that an error occurred and the comptroller and auditor general is on record as saying this error was between £5m and £8m."
This will run and run!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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