A statement issued by Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has criticised HMRC for its action against tax evaders as “unacceptably slow”. She said “it is beyond belief that HMRC has not put in place a framework or principles to guide how it manages and administers tax reliefs.
The committee highlighted that upto £10 million of taxes avoided by more than 200 users of a tax avoidance scheme called ‘Liberty’ may not be recoverable because HMRC failed to start inquiries within the 12 month deadline. They said action against tax avoiders “continue to be unacceptably slow, putting tax revenues at risk”.
PAC also raised concerns over the slow progress of enquiries into the Falciani list which includes 3,600 individuals from the UK thought to be avoiding tax by using Swiss bank accounts, and a £1.9 billion error created by the tax authorities themselves in their compliance work that went undetected for 3 years.
The chair further added that Revenue & Customs failed to properly tackle companies that took advantage of international tax structures to reduce their UK liabilities.
In a statement released by HMRC a spokesman said, “We will work closely with the National Audit Office to ensure there is no repeat of the base line error for which we apologised to the committee.” They added that, “We will work closely with the National Audit Office to ensure there is no repeat of the base line error for which we apologised to the committee.