HMRC published their Consultation Responses Document to its draft Charter last week.
The consultation attracted an unprecedented 1900 responses:
– 124 online,
- 1748 youth (aged 15-24 years), and
- 54 written responses from representative bodies, businesses and individuals (including HMRC staff).
I am surprised that 15 year olds have even the slightest understanding/interest in matters concerning taxation.
- "pursue relentlessly", and
- "bend or break the rules"
caused some angst amongst the respondents. HMRC have modified them accordingly:
"3.31 The phrase 'pursue relentlessly' is part of the HMRC Vision. The language is appropriate for internal use and it accurately reflects our role. Given the concerns expressed we have changed the term to 'tackle' in the Charter, however the sentiment remains the same.
3.32 The phrase 'bend or break the rules' is also part of the HMRC Vision. Internally HMRC staff understand the difference between evasion and avoidance.
We have amended the wording in the Charter to make a clearer distinction for an external audience between 'deliberately break the rules' and those who 'bend the rules' And the additional notes make more clear our approach to tax avoidance as compared to tax evasion."
Given this change in the Charter is not also appropriate that the HMRC Vision is also changed to reflect this, lest it cause confusion internally?
I would also note that the revised version now states:
"distinguish between legitimately trying to pay the lowest amount and bending the rules through tax avoidance".
Tax avoidance is legitimate, the above implies that it is illegal.
BTW am I seeing things, or is that Barack Obama in the top right hand picture on page one?;)
Tax does have to be taxing.
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