PAC misses the point, again

           

26 April 2013
For immediate release 
 
Today’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report – Tax Avoidance: the role of large accountancy firms - sends contradictory messages and repeats misconceptions on how best to counter tax avoidance says the Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC), the union representing senior staff in HMRC.

ARC President Gareth Hills said, “We agree with PAC that confidence in the UK tax system can only be maintained if every company and every individual is seen to be paying their fair share of tax.”

But Hills is disappointed that PAC repeats the misconception that “HMRC appears to be fighting a battle it cannot win in tackling tax avoidance”.

Hills said, “HMRC is successful in battling tax avoiders – the results in the courts show that.”

Hills believes more resource is key if HMRC is to continue winning the fight against avoiders and evaders. ARC presented detailed investment proposals on resource and reward in its recent Budget submission demonstrating that recruiting 450 additional senior and support tax professionals to challenge tax avoidance could yield £2,000m over 4 years.

Tax gap is closing but further £8 billion could be recouped by HMRC, providing an alternative to cuts or tax increases, says ARC Budget submission

Hills was also surprised to read PAC’s comments condemning as ‘inappropriate’ secondments to HMRC and HM Treasury from the ‘Big Four’ Accountancy firms. Hills said “ARC has seen no evidence to support PAC’s view that there is anything inappropriate about secondments to HMRC or the Treasury. I’m afraid this report is another example of PAC missing the point about the challenges facing HMRC and how ARC members are responding.”

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union and professional body representing 18,000 of the UK’s senior civil
and public servants. Our members include policy advisors, senior managers, tax inspectors, economists, statisticians, accountants, special advisers, government lawyers, diplomats, crown prosecutors and NHS managers.

2. Members in HMRC are represented by the Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC), a section of the FDA.

3. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants’ union".

4. For further information contact:
• Gareth Hills, ARC President, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07870 592356.