HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
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.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Softly Softly Catchee Monkey

A year ago HMRC launched its "Most Wanted" gallery:
"To help in the effort to hunt down the United Kingdom’s biggest tax fraudsters, HMRC will place photographs of its Most Wanted on its flickr channel and ask members of the public to assist in finding them.

The Most Wanted are tax criminals who have absconded after being charged with a crime or during trial. HMRC has worked with Crimestoppers to gather information from the public that may help capture these criminals and others like them, but this is the first time that HMRC has published photographs and details of tax dodgers’ crimes."
Has it worked?

Not really, not at least in terms of the political imperative of seeing results in a relatively short period of time.

The BBC reports that only one of the UK's 20 most-wanted alleged fraudsters and tax evaders named on the list has been caught. This has caused Labour to decry the scheme as a failure.

Irrespective of whether putting mugshots of tax evaders on the internet is an effective means of tackling this form of criminality, as opposed to being merely a form of political pr, it is unrealistic to expect to see the "top twenty" banged to rights within a year.

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the ACCA, quite rightly said that politics should be taken out of the equation. Instead, more resources should be put into HMRC to assist it catch the suspects.

As he said, there is "no silver bullet" to catch these people; it will take a long time.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. It can take a flikr page as long to load as it takes to get through to HMRC on the phone. So I guess most people give before actually seeing the images.

  2. I was going to suggest advertising on lorries like UKBA have been doing but as the ASA is now involved in that farce it may be better for HMRC to look elsewhere.
    Of course, if the Muppets know where these escapees from justice are as per their interactive mapping, why can't they extradite?
    Its no good having gleaned additional Intelligence if you can't do anything with it. And if the proceed s of crime have followed them home, can't their host countries have a pop at them?

  3. Ken,

    Was it really necessary for you to put a photograph of David Gauke at the top of this piece? Fair put me off my lunch, it did.

  4. Is it right to publish the mugshots of the tax evaders? Absolutely

    Is it justified when you consider the year-on-year lack of progress? I don't care. They don't stop being fugitives just because of the passage of time, in fact in a sense the length of time they've been on the run is an aggravating factor.

    Start offering 10% of tax monies recouped as a reward for bringing these fugitives to justice (as the IRS does) and see those phones start ringing off the hook!

    1. But who would be there to answer the phones?!

      This lot can't cope with the phones as it is, adding extra calls is not the answer.

      Let the NCA deal with the big boys, as they would for any other 3rd party.

      Raise the Civil Limits and do away with HMRC Criminal work. Encourage a resilient approach to asset recovery wherever the trail may lead.