Long overdue for Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs to tighten up seriously on tax avoidance

The ‘Paradise Papers’ are just the latest in a long line of tax scandals. The system, which is rigged to benefit the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, is broken. The impact on our public services of these corrupt practices, protected by a veil of secrecy, has been devastating. After seven years of austerity, it is time for irresponsible tax dodging to come to an end.

HMRC, the government body tasked with policing the tax system, has seen its staff numbers and budget halved since it was formed in 2005. Meanwhile, the UK government has failed to take the opportunity to clean up the offshore system, in territories like Bermuda that are under its control, and make it harder for individuals and companies to avoid tax. It is little wonder that tax dodgers are taking advantage.

Tax Justice UK, the country’s leading campaign organisation for a fairer tax system, is now calling for the UK government to take decisive action to end the scourge of tax avoidance, once and for all, by tightening up on enforcement and introducing new transparency rules.

The Government needs to clamp down on tax avoidance in the UK by:

■ Increasing the resources available to HMRC to enforce UK tax legislation
■ Stopping the practice of granting amnesties to those who hide their money tax offshore
■ Abolishing ‘non-dom’ status
■ Tightening the regulation of accountants, lawyers and bankers
■ Introducing public registers of beneficial ownership for trusts as well as companies, and compelling the UK’s crown dependencies and overseas territories to do the same
■ Mandating public country-by-country reporting for all publicly quoted companies
■ Publicly reviewing tax breaks for corporates and wealthy individuals

A petition advocating these changes has been launched by the campaign organisation 38 Degrees. I’ve signed the petition. If you’d like to do so, you can do that here.


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