I am highly gemused to see that our political masters and HMRC have something of a sense of humour, and have published in advance their April Fools' Day joke.
I refer of course to Danny "Beaker" Alexander's "Significant Tool", aka HMRC's Tax and Procurement Discussion Document. This "fine" document came about as a result of Beaker's comments on 25th September 2012 about "tax dodgers":
"Taxpayers’ money should not be funding tax dodgers. So I have tasked HMRC and the Cabinet Office to come up with a workable solution to this problem and we will set out more details later this year."The document proposes that individuals and businesses that have taken part in tax avoidance could be denied government contracts.
Potential suppliers will be required to notify contracting departments of their recent tax compliance history and state if any return has been found to be incorrect as a result of HMRC successfully challenging it under the general anti-abuse rule (as per the Finance Bill 2013), an anti-avoidance rule, or the Halifax abuse principle.
Government departments will be allowed to terminate an agreement if the service provider subsequently breaches tax compliance obligations.
For good measure the proposals are to operate retrospectively, with (as per Taxation) a possible a ten-year time limit relating to the date the non-compliance was recognised.
In the event that anyone has any comments on the proposals, they should be submitted by email no later than 28 February to HMRC's David Harris or Robert Sanford.
Good luck with that then!
On the subject of tax avoidance etc, Mapeley anyone?
How ironic that HMRC, a staunch and shouty opponent of tax avoidance had in fact signed a contract that involves tax avoidance through an offshore company.
Clearly a case of do as we say, rather than do as we do!
Aside from Mapeley I would wager that a good many companies that our political masters sign contracts with (or indeed have shares in, or sit on the boards of) are doing their best to reduce their tax bills (ie avoiding taxes).
Tax does have to be taxing.
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