On Tuesday I wrote that HMRC are sending some of its experts to Pakistan to offer advice on how to increase its tax take.
I made a couple of "radical" suggestions:
1 Why don't we simply stop paying aid to Pakistan?
2 Why don't the HMRC experts stay at home, and help advise HMRC resolve its own issues wrt tax collection?
I am gemused to see that the UK media and our "respected" political "elite" have suddenly woken up and have realised that sending money to this corrupt country is idiotic. My thanks to a loyal reader, who noted that the Express Tribune reported on the level of corruption in Pakistan in December 2012.
The BBC reports that the International Development Committee said British taxpayers should not be paying for health and education in Pakistan, while rich Pakistanis were paying little tax. The UK government should withhold extra aid to Pakistan unless the country does more to gather taxes from its wealthier citizens.
Now, the question is will sending HMRC to Pakistan help end the corruption and help it improve its tax take?
No, it will not!
The IDC called on the Department for International Development (DfID) to work with other donor countries and the International Monetary Fund to push for reform of Pakistan's tax system and back a national campaign to build domestic political momentum for change.
No recommendation (or even mention) of sending HMRC to Pakistan.
I wonder if they know that HMRC are about to fly out there?
As I noted, HMRC has its work cut out for it in the UK as it struggles to restore credibility to the UK tax system.
It is absurd to waste the scare time and resources of HMRC (ie the funds of UK taxpayers) on a fruitless trip to a corrupt failing country.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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