HMRC publish a list of tax evaders but neglect to mention any large corporations
The hotelier and real estate heiress Leona Helmsley stated: “Taxes are only for the little people” before being convicted of income tax evasion in 1989.
Yesterday, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs published a list of names and addresses of nine individuals and companies who they describe as tax defaulters. Amongst the names on the list are a grocer, a hairdresser and a coach operator and the amounts owed range from £29,111 to £447,904.
In response, Richard Murphy of Tax Research called the list of names: “Plain, straightforward hypocrisy”. He went on to state:
“The people named are easy targets. There are clearly different categories of tax crime, with small businesses who put cash in HMRC’s pockets named and shamed; but banks, wealthy lawyers and global corporations offered anonymity. It seems that only little people pay tax and only little people are named and shamed”.
Mr Murphy is quite right. Whilst these people may owe the taxman money, their activities are not in the league of the tax avoidance strategies of Starbucks, Google and Amazon.
If HMRC don’t want to be placed in the same category as Leona Helmsley, they’d do well to change their ways. Instead they’d do better to focus on the true “aggressors” that David Cameron highlighted this week but sadly, that would probably just be too logical a strategy for this monolithic organisation to follow.
View the HMRC list of 9 defaulters at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/defaulters/defaulters-list.pdf
For a profile of Leona Helmsley, go to: http://thesteepletimes.com/tycoons/leona-helmsley-1920-2007/?position=14