The Guardian notes that HMRC confirmed only Green’s personal compliance with UK tax laws while clearing him for the peerage. It did not inform the government that it was in possession of thousands of secret account files from the Swiss bank, which implicated HSBC in tax evasion and other potential criminal offences.
Dave Hartnett, HMRC’s then head of tax, said:
“HMRC is asked to provide an indication of reputational risk for appointments of peers in relation to their tax compliance history only.”Fair enough, maybe.
However, one would have thought that a little "blue sky thinking" and imagination by HMRC would have spurred it to point out that there may be problems down the line with the bank and the peerage.
Does this mean that HMRC lacks initiative and imagination, or does this mean that HMRC was simply trying to keep a lid on things?
Tax does have to be taxing.
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