The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee — which scrutinises the value for money, efficiency and effectiveness of government spending — has slammed as “woefully inadequate” the number of prosecutions for offshore tax evasion by HM Revenue and Customs.
The committee’s damning report — which states HMRC is “failing UK taxpayers” — also says HMRC telephone lines are:
“so bad that they are having an adverse impact on the collection of tax revenues”
“serious and ongoing concerns about evasion, avoidance and collection in the tax system”.
This chaos at the heart of HMRC unsurprisingly comes after 5 years of government cuts which have seen 11,000 full-time equivalent staff posts cut from the department.
George Osborne — whose job as chancellor means he is effectively tax-collector-in-chief — seems to be remarkably half-hearted about dealing with the problem.
Maybe it’s because George thinks evading taxes is OK? After all, he said as much in a TV interview in 2003:
More evidence that taxes are only for the ‘little people’?