HMRC investigations into large companies took 34 months on average in the year to the end of March 2017, up from 31 months in the previous financial year.
Pinsent Masons, the law firm that obtained the data, said the figures reflected HMRC’s increasingly aggressive approach to tackling corporate tax avoidance and a growing unwillingness to cut deals with large companies.
Ian Hyde, a partner at the firm, is quoted by the FT:
“HMRC is digging its heels in and not backing down, even when there is a sensible settlement to be reached. Giving businesses certainty over the legal and tax environment is an important part of a smooth-running economy. Leaving these investigations open for three years at a time does not help that.”I was surprised at the HMRC response, wrt how many companies they investigate (spoiler alert over half the UK's largest businesses:
“We subject large business to an exceptional level of scrutiny. At any one time, we will be actively investigating more than half of the UK’s 2,100 largest businesses."Now, that either means UK businesses are inherently dishonest/incompetent; or, HMRC thinks that they are inherently dishonest/incompetent.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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