His questions for HMRC at the PAC this afternoon. If any HMRC bods do read this blog please do feel free to lift these answers:
1. Your board is now dominated by people from the private sector, big business and big accountancy. Doesn’t that impair your objectivity, freedom for manoeuvre, credibility and independence and if so isn’t it time for a total re-think of the governance structures of HMRC?
This is rather the point of a Board. To have a majority of people from outside the organisation. For, you see, the job of the board is to hold the executives, and thus the organisation itself, to account. And this gets done rather better when you’ve people from outside the organisational culture doing it.
3. Why is that almost no one who has been trained within HMRC is promoted t its board? What is wrong with the training and the leadership of HMRC that it cannot apparently train its own leaders when that is the moral pattern in most organisations in the UK?
Because the arrogant little fucks who belong to your paymasters, the PCS union, tend to have nastily fascist ideas about liberty, freedom and the role of the law in defining what tax is payable and what is not.
4. Why don’t you recognise the tax avoidance of companies like Google, Amazon and Starbucks in the tax gap reporting that you undertake? Doesn’t you denial of an obvious truth undermine the credibility of everything you have to say on this issue?
Because, as has endlessly been pointed out, none of those three companies are engaging in tax avoidance. We’ve even released a document where we point this out. Given that their tax arrangements do not constitute tax avoidance we do not include anything from them in our estimates of tax avoidance.
That a retired accountant from Wandsworth has decided to reclassify certain things is not the way that the law of this land is decided.
22. The G8 has called on the OECD to introduce country-by-country reporting. Why isn’t HMRC out in the business community demanding this information from multinational corporations now, and why can’t it be made a specific UK requirement that all companies supply country-by-country reports on all their activities to HMRC before any international consensus is reached?
HMRC is responsible for the administration of the law not the creation of it. Might we suggest that the PAC direct this question to its colleagues in the House of Commons?
23. Does arm’s length pricing work for transfer pricing purposes? If not – as seems clear to use – why aren’t you promoting unitary taxation?
See above. We do not make the law.
24. Why isn’t HMRC calling for reform of international rules on tax permanent establishment so that Amazon, Google and others can be taxed on what they do in the UK? Isn’t it your job to be vocal on this issue?
No, see above.
26. Why has the Swiss tax deal failed to collect the tax you claimed it would deliver?
Because there was massively less tax evasion in those Swiss accounts than the drivellings of a retired accountant from Wandsworth led us to expect there would be.