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February 20, 2013updated 04 Apr 2017 3:27pm

UK MPs demand ‘naming and shaming’ of tax avoiders

The MPs of Britain on the parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have said that the Britain's government should discourage tax avoidance by ‘naming and shaming’ corporations, accountants and individuals who use legal loopholes to escape HMRC's reach.

By Verdict Staff

Additionally, the PAC report also accuses accountancy firms that run complex tax avoidance schemes of ‘running rings around HMRC’, and added that the UK’s tax authority is not using its raft of powers to their full effect in trying to clamp down on dodgers.

It has been estimated that the UK loses around GBP5 billion a year through tax avoidance.

"[Accountants] create schemes which exploit loopholes in legislation or abuse available tax reliefs such as those intended to encourage investment in British films, and then sign up as many clients as possible, knowing that it will take time for HMRC to change the law and shut the scheme down," said Margaret Hodge MP, chairwoman of the PAC.

"Their clients can then take advantage of this window of opportunity to make a lot of money at the expense of the taxpayer, while the promoter simply moves on to a new a scheme and repeats the process. It is a game of cat and mouse and HMRC is losing," she added.

And further said: "It has allowed a system to evolve where the die are loaded in favour of the promoters of tax avoidance schemes. The complexity of tax law creates opportunities for avoidance, there are no penalties to stop people promoting these schemes, and HMRC is ineffective in challenging promoters who are deliberately obstructive or deliberately sell schemes they know do not work. Promoters pocket their fees whether their schemes work or not."

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