Margaret, Lady Hodge, on tax again

‘The tax gap is really the tip of the iceberg in the gap between the money that you collect and the money if everyone paid their fair share,’ the public accounts committee chairman said.

Ms Hodge named Google, Facebook, Amazon and Starbucks as companies whose tax affairs had sparked public anger and doubts about whether they were paying their fair share in Britain.

She said: ‘It looks to me that you should be litigating. Why have you not chosen to litigate and test your powers?

‘Why have you not litigated against one single internet company?’

She added: ‘Make a few cases, a few show cases. It’s so bloody obvious.’

Did we really have a former Minister, the current Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, saying that we should have a few show trials?

Seriously? We all know that they’re obeying the law but what the hell, prosecute them anyway?

Can’t we go back to 1945 and start hanging a few fascists?

16 thoughts on “Margaret, Lady Hodge, on tax again”

  1. And whatever happened to public figures keeping their traps shut on matters that are, or may soon be, sub iudice?

  2. I saw the first part of the PAC meeting and made three observations on Hodge:

    1. She still doesn’t get that just because something is sold to somebody in the UK, it doesn’t necessarily mean that any profits arising from this will be taxable in the UK.
    2. HMRC can’t talk about individual cases. She’s been told numerous times yet still persists. It was interesting to note that the HMRC guys dropped some very strong hints that they were investigating Google.
    3. Public perception and fair share matters not one jot; it’s the law that counts. She has acknowledged this is the past and so any show trial would likely come to nothing. She’s just grandstanding. Again.

    But if we are to have show trials, then let’s start with Amazon as it is perhaps the most clear cut example as our double taxation treaty with Luxembourg clearly states that it wouldn’t have permanent establishment in the UK, and that aside, it doesn’t make any profits to tax!

  3. Apart from the obvious, there is an interesting insight here on Hodges’ view of public money.

    For any trial to be a “show trial” it would have to go to the very top and so would cost hundreds of millions – for any judge would surely grant the defendants costs.

    But I bet this hasn’t even entered Hodges’ lonely brain cell. When it comes to public funds, there need be no justification, it’s not real money and who gives a fuck?

    Certainly not Hodge.

  4. Show trials are standard Proggie practise. It’s all about using the law to bully, rather than the law as a means of justice for the injured. It is all about the law being a tool of the elites, wielded for their perception of a “public good” rather than being an equal system in the hands of the people themselves.

    Slightly tangential, but a good example at the moment of course is Yewtree, which has just claimed another scalp.

  5. My Lud, not sub judice until arrest or laying of an information etc is it, plus never sub judice where there is zero chance of anyone being prosecuted!

    It’s all just bloviation and pre-election positioning for Mr Ed.

  6. But there has been a test case – Thin Cap Group Litigation v Commissioners of Inland Revenue, ruling by the ECJ on 13/3/07. This found that EU law overrides national laws on this issue. And EU law says that such activity is legal unless it’s clearly an artificial arrangement made purely to avoid paying tax.

  7. Ian B, what’s your logic there? The guy had a stack of precons, and offed himself before facing trial on other charges. Who’s fault is that?

    In the same comment you talk about the law being applied as a means of obtaining justice for the injured.

    I doubt you have any knowledge of the injured or injuries in this case, but are you suggesting that whatever the complaint the cops should not investigate (and the CPS should not charge) because it was some time ago?

  8. Is it some kind of Commons etiquette that dictates that when confronted with a single cell organism such as ‘Hodge the dodge’ one doesn’t say – Seriously are you so fucking thick that a) you’re a deluded idiot, B) so economic illiterate that you need help counting the change in your purse. c) a vindictive and hypocritical cow how has no sense of shame…. please choose three.

  9. Can someone clarify, that the situation is that in one corner we have a £35bn tax gap and in the other corner we have Hodge’s accused companies of not paying their fair share, and because these are two different things – the tax gap is unpaid tax rather than tax you cannot collect due to the law not allowing it to be done – so we will have an expensive legal process that, at best, will result in the continued existence of a £35bn tax gap?

  10. @Runcie Balspune – will leave those with more knowledge to answer your question lest I add to the confusion with an half-arsed attempt at an answer.

    All I can confirm is that there is a very large gap between Lady Hodge’s ears.

  11. If anyone should be being hanged it’s Hodge, who colluded with child abusers in Islington in the 1980s. The woman has no shame – not one iota.

  12. Grandstanding for the media, she demands something that HMRC, to their credit, seem reluctant to do. While I do not like HMRC I would expect them to risk court action only when they believe they have a good chance of winning. No chance of winning because something is legal and as intended by the lawmakers….. including one M Hodge?

  13. Firstly the Crown (HMRC) should act as a model litigant. That means that it should not take spurious points or run baseless cases before its own courts.

    Secondly for public authorities charges with the administration of public funds the ordinarily only take cases on where there is a reasonable prospect of success. That is a higher test than there being a prima facie case.

    The Courts are not free,

    On the other hand as a lawyer I am always in favour of anything that enriches the legal profession (incentives work), so forget all that claptrap and bring it on. More barristers made wealthy from taxpayer funds. What is not to like!

  14. Tim

    Your reference to Margaret Hodge and 1945 show trials is well wide of the mark. Hodge is much better suited to Salem, 1692. She knows a witch when she sees one. And, don’t forget, the courts in Salem did say sorry to all those executed as witches when they realised that they’d “got a bit carried away” so no harm done, eh?

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