MPs’ fury at £25bn tax owed

THE TAXMAN is chasing more than £25bn from Britain’s top businesses, according to a damning report from MPs published today.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) also appears to be “too cosy” with large companies and has refused to give “straight answers” to questions, claims the Public Accounts Committee, which has produced the study on tax disputes.

Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP heading the PAC, said: “We uncovered both specific and systemic failures which must be addressed...It is extraordinary that the same officials who negotiated deals also approved them.”

The committee was particularly scathing about senior officials including Dave Hartnett, the outgoing permanent secretary for tax at HMRC, accusing him of giving “imprecise, inconsistent and potentially misleading” answers.

The report also highlights the controversial tax deal struck between HMRC and Goldman Sachs and said Hartnett’s evidence about his relationship with the investment bank is “less than clear”.

A spokesman for HMRC said the report was based on “partial information, inaccurate opinion and some misunderstanding of facts”.

The report comes as pressure group UK Uncut Legal Action said it will issue legal proceedings against HMRC over the Goldman deal on Thursday.

Last week a PwC report for the City of London said firms in the Square Mile paid £63bn in tax this year.