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, 11 December 2015

HMRC Judge, Jury and Executioner

Despite warnings, the government will go ahead with plans to consult on legislation that will create a new criminal offence for corporations that fail to take appropriate steps to prevent the facilitation of tax avoidance.

Pinsent Masons, the law firm, notes that the new law will be difficult to impose against overseas firms. Jason Collins, partner and head of tax at Pinsent Masons, is quoted by economia warning of the dangers of trial by press release:
You can’t extradite a company.

HMRC may resort to 'prosecution by press release' – i.e., by issuing criminal proceedings which, because they are in the public domain, will mean the foreign company has to decide whether to respond in the public domain. 

This is the sort of legislation of which US law-makers would be proud. It is a bold attempt by the UK to extend the arm of its law beyond its borders. It needs to be matched with resources to police the offence otherwise it will become a damp squib.”
The government has also published further details on new powers that will allow HMRC to levy penalties on companies that persistently engage in aggressive tax planning.

A large business can be placed under what HMRC describes as “special measures” if it judges it to have an ongoing history of tax planning. HMRC’s “special measures” could then be used to impose harsher penalties if any unpaid tax is due to a “speculative interpretation” of UK law.

Pinsent Masons are of the view that HMRC is free to decide what this “speculative interpretation” is. Heather Self, partner at Pinsent Masons said:
The new terms effectively leave HMRC as judge, jury and executioner on these businesses’ approach to tax.

That is a very subjective judgement and is likely to result in some very contentious penalties when it is used.
Handing more powers to HMRC, given its track record of mistakes and abusing its current powers, is not step in the right direction.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Some salient points?

    This lot seem to have difficulty enforcing existing internal UK tax legilation upon UK based entities.

    The HMRC track record for pounds in the treasury coffers as opposed to existing as a bill, demand, penalty etc. or even 'revenue protected' is poor.

    What is the motivation to ensure compliance?

    Create another 'tax farce' or task force, equipped with a Government plane (when Cameron isnt gathering air miles) and send them on the wild geese chase.

    Its no more than political window dressing which will divert already scarce specialist resources towards an area that has no ROI worth talking about.

  2. Not been having a good couple of days what with the Mapeley business rearing its ugly head in Private Eye again - is it true Mapeley can insist on a buy back by HMRC?

    Then there is the Mail reporting on the 4 times a year tax return scenario pending for companies and Self Assessment wallahs!
    Thats 4 times the possibility for everyone to get it wrong, cross post data, lose it, fail to cross refer payments received. There seems to be a problem with everybody submitting once a year - runestones foretell of a mighty effluvium hitting the fan, meltdown of comms and payment of more awards.

    Never mind, hub time everybody, put your cocoa down, pay attention. What would Toyota do I wonder?

  3. Wait for the central print service chaos to hit the press is one of the most user unfriendly systems...error ridden...offline most of the time...and much much slower than the Royal Mail.
    Another useless private sector initiative that the Tories have thrown at us!!