The PAC invited HMRC finest to attend another committee meeting yesterday.
This time the guests were; Lin Homer, Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary, Nick Lodge, Director General, Benefits and Credits, Simon Bowles, Chief Finance Officer and Edward Troup, Tax Assurance Commissioner.
The subject of the meeting was HMRC's 2011-12 Accounts.
What was sadly apparent from yesterday's meeting was that MPs don't seem to understand Parliament's role in tax legislation, or indeed how HMRC works.
It is all very well blaming HMRC for everything that is wrong with the tax system in this country. However, whilst there are some aspects that clearly fall under HMRC's remit (eg procedures/administration), as I have noted many times before the buck stops with Parliament.
- It is Parliament that drafts the legalisation that is blamed by MPs for "allowing" tax avoidance to occur.
- It is Parliament that drafts the legislation that makes the UK tax system unfeasibly complex and nigh on impossible to understand.
- It is Parliament (dare I mention wee Gordon) that merged IR and Customs, thus bringing about this buggers' muddle that is HMRC.
- It is Parliament that decrees HMRC must cut its resources.
- It is the government that has failed to make a single minister responsible for HMRC.
Therefore, ultimately, who is to blame for the mess that PAC are complaining about?
As ever views, comments and opinions are always welcome.
You can watch the meeting via this link PAC.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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