The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP (cough Stemcor), Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, today said:
"Global companies with huge operations in the UK generating significant amounts of income are getting away with paying little or no corporation tax here. This is outrageous and an insult to British businesses and individuals who pay their fair share.
Corporation tax revenues have fallen at a time when securing proper income from taxes is more vital than ever.
There is little credible information about what is going on. The evidence we took from large corporations was unconvincing and, in some cases, evasive. HMRC also lacked clarity when trying to explain its approach to enforcing the corporation tax regime.
The inescapable conclusion is that multinationals are using structures and exploiting current tax legislation to move offshore profits that are clearly generated from economic activity in the UK.
HMRC should be challenging this but its response so far to these big businesses and their aggressive tax planning has lacked determination and looks way too lenient. Policing the tax system must be at the heart of what HMRC does.
It must be more aggressive and assertive in confronting corporate tax avoidance. This is essential for the credibility of both the Department and the tax system.
Confidence in our tax system can only be maintained if every company and every individual is seen to be paying their fair share. That requires HMRC to act firmly now."PAC also sated that HMRC and corporate taxpayers are failing to meet the legitimate public expectations from the tax system.
It is all very easy to blame HMRC and "evil" multinationals for the government's falling tax revenues.
However, may I ask PAC which "organisation" is actually responsible for drafting the legislation that HMRC and the multinationals use to determine what is their "fair share" of tax (whatever "fair share" actually means)?
Oh yes, that would be Parliament!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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