Thursday, 16 February 2012

Should HMRC have paid for stolen information? Off topic!

While the Leveson Inquiry scrutinises phone hacking by newspapers, HMRC’s payment of an undisclosed sum for a data disk stolen from a bank in Liechtenstein demonstrates that even Government departments believe the end sometimes justifies the means. Armed with the names and addresses of British residents with an estimated £3bn hidden in the tax haven, HMRC launched the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF) more than a year ago.

Yesterday, Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary at HMRC, said: “As the number of disclosures already exceeds the total we originally expected for the whole period of the LDF, we have agreed with the Liechtenstein Government that it makes sense to extend the facility by one year to April 5, 2016.”

While some MPs criticised the Telegraph for its series of scoops about many MPs' expenses because the informant was paid to disclose these frauds, the taxman also paid to get results. Chas Roy-Chowdhury of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) commented: “If estimates of the amount stashed away in Liechtenstein are correct, HMRC could have uncovered an extra £1.5bn of tax and be well on its way to meeting the Government’s target of finding an additional £8bn tax revenues during this Parliament.

with HMRC taking a hard line on tradesmen who accept cash payments to evade tax, it’s beginning to look like one law for the plutocrats and another for plumbers.

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