TaxPayers' Alliance responds to Public Accounts Committee report on HMRC tax disputes with big companies

December 20, 2011 9:27 AM

The Public Accounts Committee has released a new report today looking at how the HMRC works to raise tax from large companies. They have found a number of weaknesses and say that they "have serious concerns that large companies are treated more favourably by the Department than other taxpayers." Looking at specific cases has led the Committee to conclude that there "needs to be proper separation between the negotiation of tax settlements and the authorization of such settlements. And the Department must address issues of accountability so that Parliament and the public can be satisfied that best value is secured."

The TaxPayers' Alliance has produced research on unpaid tax and the complexity of the tax system (along with a video showing the world's fastest speaker trying to read the tax code) which makes its administration more challenging. Today Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, responded:

“This report again calls into question whether HMRC is fit for purpose. Ordinary taxpayers often feel that they are treated harshly when they make genuine mistakes because of our complicated tax system; the PAC findings will increase suspicions that big businesses are treated differently. The taxman will always struggle to effectively enforce a tax code that is one of the longest and most complicated in the world and the only way to ensure that more individuals and big businesses pay their fair share is to simplify the system and reduce the number of loopholes. There may be times when confidentiality is needed, but it would be unacceptable if HMRC was using this as an excuse to avoid being completely transparent about its decisions.”The Public Accounts Committee has released a new report today looking at how the HMRC works to raise tax from large companies. They have found a number of weaknesses and say that they "have serious concerns that large companies are treated more favourably by the Department than other taxpayers." Looking at specific cases has led the Committee to conclude that there "needs to be proper separation between the negotiation of tax settlements and the authorization of such settlements. And the Department must address issues of accountability so that Parliament and the public can be satisfied that best value is secured."

The TaxPayers' Alliance has produced research on unpaid tax and the complexity of the tax system (along with a video showing the world's fastest speaker trying to read the tax code) which makes its administration more challenging. Today Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, responded:

“This report again calls into question whether HMRC is fit for purpose. Ordinary taxpayers often feel that they are treated harshly when they make genuine mistakes because of our complicated tax system; the PAC findings will increase suspicions that big businesses are treated differently. The taxman will always struggle to effectively enforce a tax code that is one of the longest and most complicated in the world and the only way to ensure that more individuals and big businesses pay their fair share is to simplify the system and reduce the number of loopholes. There may be times when confidentiality is needed, but it would be unacceptable if HMRC was using this as an excuse to avoid being completely transparent about its decisions.”

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