A Murphmonster classic

HMRC announces that the number of tax investigations it is doing rises. Ritchie complains that it’s not enough:

And apparently knowing that suggests that there are just 60 people a year worth investigating. Even if we only assume they are looking at higher rate tax payers that is still only about a 0.002% chance of being investigated.


From his own source article:

A Finance Team set up by HM Revenue and Customs to target wealthy fund managers and investment bankers……The Finance Team is part of HRMC’s High Net Worth Unit, which targets high earners in private equity, investment banks, hedge funds and other funds.

This isn’t the team looking at high income earners. Nor the team looking at higher rate payers. It’s not even the team looking at rich people. It’s the team looking at one distinct subset of the finance industry who also happen to be rich people.

The total population being looked at here is some thousands, possibly extending to a couple of tens of thousands (there’s a few hundred thousand working in wholesale finance, this is some subset of that and then only the top earners/wealth owners in that subset).

11 thoughts on “A Murphmonster classic”

  1. No matter how much, it will never be enough.

    Whatever we say about the LHTD, he clearly knows which side his bread is buttered and is looking forward to being the Lurpak of the tax world.

  2. Am I missing something?

    If 60 investigations is 0.002% of the ‘target’ then the target is 30,000 people – which is about in line with your (TW’s) guestimate of the finance industry.

    So what is it that we don’t think the LHTD has got right?

  3. Off topic, but can anyone guess who this might be?

    “I am interviewed in this new film: More details here: Website: http://www.TheEmperorsNewClothesFilm.co.uk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheEmperorsNewClothes Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Emps_NewClothes I should add, I am only responsible for my bit(s), but I am looking forward to it.”


    I imagine from the disclaimer that it is a bit sweary. Our man is a Puritan in the literal sense.

  4. I’m not a tax lawyer, but I have worked with them in the past to design life insurance products that could be used in tax planning, and also worked with promoters of such schemes.

    From my experience, many companies will have tax advisers that a lot of their employees will use – either through formal recommendation by the company, or informal between colleagues. As such, a particular tax strategy may be used by a large number of people in one company. (My main experience of this is through working with sports agents and to a more limited extent some hedge funds. Outside of the Premiership a lot of footballers have very similar arrangements.)

    By doing some targeted investigations or samples on individuals from a range of companies then HMRC will see a variety of approaches from different advisers. It may be possible that HMRC then finds about a new strategy it wasn’t aware of previously without having to go on mass trawling expeditions. So maybe investigating a small number of people may actually yield better results in the longer term?

    I should caveat that my experience is several years old and probably out of date following DOTAS; perhaps some of the real tax experts here could put me right?

    The other option to be considered of course is that there just aren’t that many witches out there, and despite Ritchie’s insistence, major finance firms aren’t full of tax evaders?

  5. and despite Ritchie’s insistence, major finance firms aren’t full of tax evaders

    Apart from the fact that he is a Spartist lunatic, one of the considerable discrepancies between his guesses and reality is that, by his definition of “tax evasion”*, everywhere is full of tax evaders.

    That’s not just a definition that either tax law, or HMRC (and those two do differ on a regular basis) accept.

    * Which not least conflates tax evasion and tax avoidance. And then throws in his confusion about jurisdicational assignment. And a bunch of other moon-howling nonsense.

  6. The Thought Gang:

    No, that won’t do at all. When an error is pointed out the correct response is:

    “Candidly, you are being pedantic. I have never said 0.002%. I am right and others agree. I am dealing with reality as I see it. You are wasting my time. Like all neoliberal trolls, you are banned.”

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