The Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) - the section of the FDA representing senior HMRC staff - held a Parliamentary event aimed at exposing and debunking common tax myths.
Chaired by the Financial Times tax correspondent Vanessa Houlder, the event included speeches from Financial Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke MP, ARC President Tony Wallace, Shadow Financial Secretary Rob Marris MP, and ARC and FDA Committee member Helen Baird-Parker.
Panel at ARC's tax myth event: Heather Self of law firm Pinsent Masons; Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury Rob Marris; Financial Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke; Chair and FT tax correspondent Vanessa Houlder; ARC and FDA Committee member Helen Baird-Parker; Robin Williamson of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group; and CBI's Rob Fontana-Reval
Attendees also heard from representatives of the CBI, Action Aid UK, the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group and law firm Pinsent Masons.
Baird-Parker questioned the myth that closing the tax gap is possible without a properly resourced HMRC, stating that "HMRC needs skilled and properly rewarded staff… Continuing pressure on HMRC funding without end and a policy of rigid pay inflexibility is not the way to go if more tax is to be collected".
Wallace outlined how reinvestment in HMRC has yielded "spectacular returns of £18 for every £1 spent".
Rob Marris, David Gauke and Tony Wallace; Helen Baird-Parker, Robin Williamson, Rob Fontana-Reval and Action Aid UK's Diarmid O'Sullivan
Gauke agreed that "the numbers are clear, HMRC has been successful in helping to close the tax gap [and] efficiency savings in HMRC from new technology should be reinvested".
Labour's Rob Marris expressed his view that Parliament "needs to look at whether tax reliefs do what they are designed to do".
Attendees and interested parties joined the conversation via the Twitter hashtag #ARCTaxMyths. A video of the event will also be available shortly.
A more detailed report from this event can be found in the upcoming issue of Public Service Magazine.