Anger as HMRC target small companies rather than corporates

By staff writers
7 Jan 2012

The proposed move by the UK tax authorities (HMRC) to inspect up to 20,000 smaller firms from April 2012, to check if they can back up their tax returns with paperwork going back for a number of years, is coming in for heavy criticism.

The Green Party of England and Wales has attacked the move as a 'witch-hunt' on small companies, and objects to the move "not only for its hypocrisy but also for undermining government pledges to cut red tape."

Meanwhile, say economic reformers, real problems of tax avoidance and evasion amongst the wealthiest individuals and companies are not being dealt with effectively.

Mobile phone giant Vodafone settled a long-running dispute with the revenue by paying £1.25 billion, say critics, but it is alleged that they should have paid nearly £6 billion.

"Tax avoidance by big corporations is rife in this country, some estimates put it up to £100 billion each year. The thought of Cameron going after small companies that have few resources, while senior people in HMRC let corporations off with a slap on the wrist, is immoral," declared Stuart Jeffrey, Green Party Policy Coordinator.

He continued: "The government must increase transparency in tax dealing, especially with international companies who are able to move their profits to avoid taxation. David Cameron should be working on an international agreement for fair and transparent taxation of these international companies. Sadly, his loyalties lie with them rather than ordinary people.

"Should we expect any less from a government that hails Philip 'Monaco Tax Haven' Green as one its business adviser? Too scared to go after the real culprits it, seems as though the HMRC is going after small businesses to meet its targets.

"The Big Society has an elite membership; apply only if your company is worth billions of pounds and you plan to fiddle the country on your tax bill. Small business owners need not apply," Mr Jeffrey declared.

[Ekk/3]

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