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British MPs condemn tax deals with big companies

Service : Politic
London, Dec 20, IRNA – British MPs Monday issued a damning indictment of the way senior officials at the country's tax department handle payment disputes with large corporations.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 3:00:06 PM
British MPs condemn tax deals with big companies

A report by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee said MPs had uncovered 'specific and systemic' failures in Britain's tax-gathering agency while investigating deals with Vodaphone and Goldman Sachs which have attracted mass protests.

Owing to a 'mistake', admitted by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC), Goldman paid up to £20m less tax than had been due on its bonus payments and Vodafone settled a long dispute by paying £1.25 bn instead of claims that it should have been more than £6 bn.

“Having looked at the two cases in the public domain, we are concerned that many millions of pounds may be lost to the public purse,” said committee chair Margaret Hodge.

“There is more than £25 billion outstanding in unresolved tax bills and it is essential that there should be proper accountability to Parliament for the settlements reached by HMRC,” Hodge said.

She criticised the way senior HMRC officials were not prepared to cooperate with the inquiry, saying that although there is a need for confidentiality to protect individual taxpayers, it must “not be used as a cloak to protect the Department from scrutiny.”

The damning findings come amid a continuing campaign led by UK Uncut to expose the way multi-national corporation escape paying tax and the worldwide Occupy movement opposed to the global financial system.

On Thursday, UK Uncut are due to issue legal proceedings in the High Court against HMRC over the Goldman Sachs deal, seeking the disclosure of all internal documents related to the deal.

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