Miliband Calls for HMRC To Be Independently Reviewed
Momentum is currently growing for an independent review of HMRC, after Paul Aplin (Chairman of the tax faculty committee at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) suggested that HM Revenue and Customs be reviewed in an effort to improve its current performance.
Labour leader Ed Miliband has committed to an independent review of the way HMRC investigates aggressive tax avoidance and tax evasion. Mr Miliband recently spoke at the Welsh Labour Party Conference, and told delegates that the review “would shine a lights on parts of the tax system that have been shrouded in secrecy under this government”.
Mr Milliband said that the current government has had five years of inaction, and his party would begin from their first days in government, reporting within three months.
His comments follow explosive revelations which were made by the Guardian and some other media outlets detailing how HSBC had helped some of its wealthy clients evade or avoid tax through its private Swiss banking arm.
Mr Miliband said that this is an example of Britain having one rule for the rich and powerful, and another rule for everyone else. He said these complex tax avoidance schemes are often based offshore, and are the type of activity which has left the United Kingdom with a £34bn hole in its finances.
The proposed investigation would have full support and investigatory powers from the Treasury, and would report directly to the chancellor. Mr Milliband called the governments reluctance to address tax avoidance “no accident” and said that the government thinks that power and wealth fence people off from responsibility.
Lin Homer is the chief executive for HMRC, and said that the HMRC made significant achievements, in 2013-14, including the collection of £505.8bn of tax which was £30.2bn more than the previous year. We can expect to see the 2014-15 report and accounts in the next few weeks.