MPs demand tax avoiders are named and shamed by HMRC

INDIVIDUALS who take part in tax avoidance schemes should have their names made public by HM Revenue & Customs, according to the chair of an influential parliamentary select committee.

Labour’s Margaret Hodge MP says the taxman “should name and shame those who sell or use tax avoidance schemes”, directing public anger at those who attempt to shelter taxable income from
the state.

A report published today by Hodge’s public accounts committee draws parallels with last year’s backlash over unusual tax arrangements at coffee chain Starbucks, suggesting the weight of public opinion should be harnessed to force tax avoiders to pay their bill in the full.

Although HMRC does publish details of tax avoidance schemes that do not work, it does not currently name the companies who devised them.

The select committee report also point out that while promoters of such schemes are required to declare them to HMRC under law, only 11 companies have been fined for non-compliance in the last nine years, with the average fine being just £5,000.

“It is a game of cat and mouse and HMRC is losing,” Hodge added.

In response an HMRC spokesman said: “We are glad the report the practices of promoters who sell tax avoidance schemes to wealthy individuals. In the last year alone the courts have ruled in HMRC’s favour in multiple tax avoidance cases where over £1bn has been protected.”