Progress launch “Tax Avoidance Charter”

30th May, 2013 9:02 am

Progress are today launching a “Tax Avoidance Charter” ahead of the G8 meeting next month. They’ll be arguing that there’s no excuse for inaction on tax avoidance in the UK and that it is “simply unfair a group of global corporations and wealthy individuals are avoiding paying their fair share”. They’ll also argue that this “is not an anti-business agenda; it is a crusade for fairness to show that we are truly ‘all in this together’.”

Here’s how that charter will look:

EXPOSE THE TAX AVOIDERS …

1.‘Name and shame’ companies and individuals engaged in tax avoidance. This would both have a powerful deterrent effect and help to change the culture among those people who see tax avoidance as legitimate and desirable rather than the abrogation of civic duty that it really is.
2. Open up the tax affairs of large quoted companies, starting with the FTSE 100. We should require companies to be much more transparent about their businesses and profits in the accounts they file with Companies House.

HMRC HAS GOT TO GET A GRIP …

3. Challenge the tax arrangements of multinational companies to ensure that they are a true and fair reflection of their economic activity in this country.
4. Get tough on tax avoiders by mounting more prosecutions.
5. Ensure HMRC has the right staff with the right skills. There needs to be the expertise within HMRC to keep up with those who devise and market tax-avoidance schemes

GOVERNMENT HAS GOT TO GET TOUGH …

6. Draw up a code of conduct to present conflicts of interest. Individuals working for large accountancy firms who advise government on tax law should not go on to create new ways of getting round it.
7. Deny public sector contracts to any company engaged in aggressive tax avoidance.
8. Beef up the Office of Tax Simplification which has just six civil servants working for it.

Progress will be holding a launch event for their charter with Public Accounts Committee Chair Margaret Hodge on Monday, as well as asking CLPs to pass their motion on the charter.

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  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    “4. Get tough on tax avoiders by mounting more prosecutions.”

    You cannot prosecute companies or people for tax avoidance, as it is legal.

    Change the tax laws.

  • ColinAdkins

    I agree with Jaime’s comments. This smacks of pulling the curtain and pretending the train is moving on this issue.
    I would add though not all avoidance schemes when tested in law are legal. If an avoidance scheme pedalled by one of the accoutancy firms proves illegal then those seeking to evade tax should be hit with punitive penalties of multiples of the sum which was now deemed to be evaded. The tax payer can then sue the accountancy firms for their poor advice. How about that for nudge theory.
    Further, I think many avoidance schemes are a contrivance. Those of us on PAYE do not have the opportunity to avoid tax. Likewise the ‘avoiders’ should be given a tax code and then be made to try and claim back when they believe is overpaid tax. In order to do this they would have to be fully transparent with their bank accounts. No disclosure no refund.
    They should also be asked the basic questioned that if have not earned the money in the account how is it there? Or you claim to have only earned £2.50 so how have you bought a house worth many millions of pounds etc?
    By the way could someone work out how many people could be taken out of tax and/or at what threshold the 40% tax rate could be set if the rich and corporations paid tax at a rate that was intended. Why the whole 45% debate could be redundant if only they coughed up. It would be a good way to popularise support when detailed.

  • Chilbaldi

    “7. Deny public sector contracts to any company engaged in aggressive tax avoidance.”

    Hopefully this means the Big 4: KPMG, Deloitte, PWC, Ernst & Young, who all facilitate tax avoidance schemes for businesses big and small.

    I still find it staggering that these firms second employees to our shadow ministers’ teams, and of course to the civil service itself.

    • MonkeyBot5000

      It won’t make any difference. They’ll need to define “aggressive” in law and who do you think they’ll call up to advise them on the definition?

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