This page sets out what we want from HMRC. I have my own ideas, do add yours in the box below – you can do this anonymously.
1. We want taxpayers to pay the right amount of tax, no more and no less
This – amazingly – is exactly what HMRC say they want too. But by everybody we mean everybody, so – yes – the small business and the self employed should pay the right amount of tax but so should the big boys, Amazon and Vodafone et al. These big organisations seem to find it easy to search out loopholes that allow them to pay much less tax than they should.
2. We want taxpayers to be treated equally in an investigation
There are groups of people who HMRC are extremely soft on; celebrities, royals, MPs and HMRC employees don’t require the same level of scrutiny as you or I. In the event one of these groups is investigated HMRC will often simply take the word of the individual that what they say is correct.
The Telegraph has reported, “Each MP claims an average of £135,850 a year in expenses [but] they only have to produce receipts for items of more than £250.” As for HMRC themselves, well Clive Gawthorpe, a UHY partner, says: “[HMRC’s] 83,000 staff do not have to submit receipts to cover claims ranging from meals to hotel accommodation and travel… Accountants who frequently face challenges over expenses for as little as £10 will find it ironic that HMRC runs such a liberal ‘no questions asked’ system for its own employees.”
3. We want HMRC to log case file hours
HMRC know what ‘the yield’ is from an investigation, but they don’t know the cost so they can’t work out how effective they’ve been. We want them to log their hours on case files so correct calculations can be made. This way if investigators habitually use disproportionate resources to hammer individuals in small cases they can be identified and dealt with quickly.
4. We want greater accountability from HMRC.
At the moment if a mistake is made it’s your fault because it’s your responsibility to get your own tax affairs correct. But let’s say that a few years ago you went to HMRC and asked them a question about your tax, let’s say you called them up to check your tax code was correct and HMRC said it was – but (guess what?) it turned out that it wasn’t correct and you now owe HMRC back-tax, interest and penalties. What we are saying is that HMRC must take some responsibility for giving out bad advice – this is what ESCA19 is all about and HMRC are doing their best to have it erased. If HMRC have made mistakes, they need to be held accountable for those errors.