So, we all know of someone who insists that we should not look to the letter of the tax law. Oh no, and I say this candidly, we should just hand over whatever it is that the spirit of the law, as defined by myself, demands.
The taxman could be forced to pay up to £43 billion in refunds if it loses its current legal battles against big businesses.
Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has revealed the worst-case-scenario figure if it loses its disputes with companies which believe they have paid too much tax.
That’s a fair old difference between what HMRC is currently insisting should be charged and what the courts might decide should actually be charged.
According to HMRC accounts, £7.2billion of the £42.8billion potential bill is more likely to be paid out than not. Known as ‘provisions’, this bill rose by a third over the past year.
The remaining £35.6billion in the estimates are ‘contingent liabilities’ where a refund is possible rather than likely. This amount rose by a fifth over the past year.
Even HMRC think they have probably overcharged by $7 billion and change.
Which brings us, of course, to that possible conflict between that letter and spirit. For we’ve got a system which decides such conflicts. It’s called the court system. Thus we don’t in fact need the LHTD to tell us all what to do, we’ve a group of knowledgeable and experienced people who are actually trained to do this instead.