In a long and sometimes heated session, HMRC was accused of having a “supine attitude” to international tax collection. Ms Hodge said the existence of a £35bn tax gap – the difference between the total amount owed to HMRC and the figure collected – suggested the body was “institutionally incapable”. She argued that if the tax legally avoided by international companies “such as Google, Amazon and Starbucks” were included, the tax gap would be far larger.
The tax officials repeatedly explained that HMRC could only collect what was legally due. “Our tax gap is a complete measure of what tax we’re owed under rules currently in place,” said Mr Harra.
Mr Troup added: “Our job is to collect tax [and we follow] the law as it stands.”
Quite. The Google, Amazon stuff is not tax avoidance. So it cannot be included in an estimate of tax avoidance.
Seems clear enough to me.