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Want to know the real reason for inflation? TAX

HMRC: if you’re rich, you don’t have to pay your taxes and probably won’t be investigated for it – but if you’re poor you can guarantee they’ll come after you for the tiniest amounts.

Does the UK have the worst tax collection system in the world?

It would explain our recent inflation problem – with huge amounts of public money going to the rich (for nothing), who aren’t paying tax back on it.

Taxation limits inflation by taking money out of the economy to balance the amounts being put in by government spending plans every year.

If HM Revenue and Customs doesn’t bother to tax the people who pay the largest amounts, then the economy is flooded with too much money and inflation rises. Right?

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Now we find that HM Revenue and Customs aren’t even bothing to investigate rich tax dodgers any more:

This is from the Guardian article:

The number of civil investigation cases opened by a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) fraud unit investigating offshore, corporate and wealthy taxpayers has fallen by more than half in five years, figures reveal.

The Observer reported last month that HMRC has not charged a single company under landmark legislation to crack down on tax evasion. Campaigners warned that HMRC was undermining its own deterrents by failing to use its criminal enforcement powers.

The new figures, obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, suggest that the tax authority’s civil enforcement in its fraud investigation service has also declined alongside its use of criminal powers.

Civil investigations opened by the offshore, corporate and wealthy unit, part of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, fell from 1,417 in 2018-19 to 627 in 2022-23.

Civil inquiries and investigations declined sharply in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted HMRC’s enforcement activity. But despite a significant rise last year, the number of cases remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

The number of civil cases that were formally opened by the fraud investigation service, which can examine the tax affairs of any taxpayer, fell by 28% in the same period, from 17,424 from 2018/19 to 12,585 in 2022/23.

The article also states that HMRC says its fraud investigation service is focusing on the highest-value tax fraud and the figures do not take account of overall compliance activity, with 300,000 compliance “interventions” opened in 2022-23, securing £34bn in additional tax revenue.

HMRC says that since 2018-19 it has opened more than 1.5m compliance interventions, securing £136bn. HMRC says work is continuing on estimating figures for the offshore tax gap.

But here’s the catch: the vast bulk of this “compliance activity” is focused on the poor, not the rich – because if you’re poor, you’re easy pickings and won’t put up much of a fight when money is taken off you by the government. Am I right?

Is it good government? Or is it gangsterism?


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The taxman has 55 BILLION items of our data from social media spying. What about data protection?

HMRC: it’s using artificial intelligence to gather information about you. But is it gathering too much?

This does not seem right:

The taxman has been using its own data system for years to snoop on taxpayers.

HMRC holds billions of our data items, including email and bank records, as part of its system used to target taxpayers for investigations.

It has revealed that there are now 55 billion items of data relating to taxpayers in its ‘Connect’ system, which was launched to tackle the growing tax gap, according to tax investigation insurance experts PfP.

The tax gap is the difference between the tax that should be paid and the amount HMRC actually collects and last year the figure stood at £32billion.

The article goes on to say that Connect has been in use since 2010 and its database has now grown to 6,100 gigabytes of taxpayer data.

The implication is that none of the information about any of us has been discarded – and it seems to me that this is in breach of the Data Protection Act.

The fifth data protection principle states that information should not be kept longer than is required for the purpose for which it was collected.

No specific time limit is given but HM Revenue & Customs’ own guidelines suggest that six years is the reasonable limit.

That means, by its own measure, HMRC may have retained seven years’ worth of information illegally.

Source: Taxman is snooping on emails and social media – and now holds 55 BILLION items of our data on its AI system in a bid to tackle tax evasion


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Barge to house asylum seekers looks like a prison and is treated like one. What is it?

Has the plan to house asylum-seekers on the 222-berth barge Bibby Stockholm come unstuck with its comparison to a floating prison?

Tory ministers may be claiming it hasn’t…

… but they would have been better-off checking their history books first.

Allow me to introduce you to HM Prison Weare:

Formerly known as the Bibby Resolution, HMP Weare was moored at – guess where? – Portland Port near Weymouth, where it held 400 prisoners between 2004 and 2005 when it closed due to costly running, being unnecessary and the cost of millions of pounds in order to refurbish it.

The prison was reopened a few months later for a short period. Not long after, the prison closed permanently and was sold off after conditions on board were criticised by the Chief Inspector for Prisoners, who complained that inmates had no exercise and no access to fresh air, also stating the ship was “unsuitable, expensive and in the wrong place”

So: poor conditions, costly and unnecessary.

May we expect to see the same conditions prevailing with HMP Weare’s sister ship, Bibby Stockholm?

Here’s a better idea for it:


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Police inspectorate skewed report to support government clampdown on protests – claim

Whistleblower: this image is representative (the revelations in the article were made by a woman). Many whistleblowers suffer for their principles, in spite of assurances that this won’t happen. It will be interesting to see what happens to Alice O’Keeffe’s career from now on.

The timing is exquisite.

On the day This Site published an article about allegations that a report on institutional racism was scripted by the Tory government to support a lie that there isn’t any in the UK, a whistleblower attacked another report – on the policing of protests – saying it was scripted by the Tories too.

The claim is a huge blow to the credibility of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services. Another blow to its credibility is the fact that it will apparently examine whether there is any truth to it.

For clarity, whistleblower Alice O’Keeffe has said

The official policing inspectorate showed repeated bias in favour of the police and against peaceful protesters…

[The report] was skewed in favour of the government view, with conclusions reached before evidence was gathered and assessed.

The civil service code was breached.

HMICFRS told the home secretary in a private letter it backed the need to change protest laws five months before its report was published.

Some in the inquiry team… likened peaceful protesters to the IRA, which waged a terrorist campaign against the UK.

Ms O’Keeffe’s written complaint was made as HMICFRS worked on a separate report on the policing of a vigil for Sarah Everard. She said the biases she had seen left her fearing a report into the policing of the vigil would be a whitewash.

And, as we have seen, it seems she was right.

That report totally exonerated the police and found fault with those of us who criticised police violence against and manhandling of women at the Clapham Common vigil.

HMICFRS has defended itself by claiming independence – based on nothing more than reputation. But reputations can be broken by facts.

And Ms O’Keeffe has spent five years working for the police inspectorate, so it is reasonable to believe she may know her subject.

Well, I hope she made copies of her evidence and put them in a safe place because if HMICFRS holds any information corroborating her claims then you can bet the hard drives have been wiped and the hard copies shredded already.

The upshot of all this is that in the short term we have another reason to distrust a police service that seems to be working for a totalitarian Tory government – and against us.

And in the long term?

We can expect another report that whitewashes the Tory-supporting inspectorate and gives us even more reason to live in fear of our government and the police force that smashes our heads in its name.

Source: Police watchdog accused of skewing report to back protests clampdown | Police | The Guardian

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Why is useless HMRC getting a 13 per cent pay rise while brilliant NHS get only one per cent?

It was revealed over the weekend that staff at HM Revenue and Customs are to receive a 13 per cent pay rise. We already know NHS staff will get only one per cent.

Some commentators have insisted that we should not begrudge tax inspectors their pay rise but I am not one of them, because I have recent experience of their work.

I file my tax returns online, you see.

When I did it this year, the automatic system demanded that I pay half the amount again, as a down-payment on next year’s taxes – but I declined on the basis that the Covid crisis has hit my income to the point where I’m unlikely to hit the threshold for paying income tax at all.

The response was that this would be considered and I would be contacted later.

I had that contact last week. After I fished it out of my email system’s spam folder, it instructed me to visit the HMRC element of the gov.uk website.

This meant I had to provide a numerical code and a password, which I did.

Then I was told a further six-digit passcode had been transmitted to my mobile phone, and I had to look it up and input that as well.

Then I was told I would be asked further questions on two of three subjects (the choice being mine). One of them was a non-starter because it didn’t apply to me, and the first of the other two required me to provide “0” as an answer, which HMRC’s website doesn’t allow.

So I could not retrieve my message. I’ve informed HMRC and am awaiting its response. This may take some time.

All I want to do is pay my taxes and the system is holding me up. For this, HMRC staff will receive a 13 per cent pay increase over the next three years.

If I go to my local doctor with a health problem, I can be assured of instant attention. If the problem turns out to be serious, that attention may involve being ambulanced to hospital for the immediate attention of specialists in their field. For this, NHS staff will receive only a one per cent pay increase.

You can appreciate my reasons for begrudging HMRC staff their increase, I hope.

Source: 13% pay rise for HMRC changes debate on NHS dispute, Maajid Nawaz insists – LBC

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Beware this email campaign from scammers claiming to be HM Revenue & Customs (Vox Political Scrapbook)

I received one of these.

It was headed “2021 Reimbursement/Ref HM05012021 Payment confirmation” and stated that I needed to go to the “HMRC Online Payments website”  in order to receive £520.99.

I never clicked on the link. If HMRC is running a website called timeless-sunsets.com then I am Rishi Sunak!

A wave of scam text messages are being received across the UK, potentially duping people into giving up their card details in order to claim a non-existent government grant.

The scam has been quickly designed to take advantage of confusion following yesterday’s announcement of another national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But there are a number of signals in the text message, including grammar and spelling errors despite claiming to be sent from HM Revenue and Customs, that can alert people to the fraud.

An HMRC spokesperson said: “HMRC will never offer a tax refund by text, email or phone. One way to check whether you are due a rebate is to log into your Personal Tax Account.”

Source: The Great HMRC Scam: Don’t fall for it – Dorset Eye

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Employees are to be taxed for every Covid-19 test they take, HMRC confirms

HMRC: if you have a Covid-19 test, the government will tax you for it.

Just when you think the Tories are as low as they can go, they find a new way to disappoint.

HMRC has confirmed that Coronavirus tests are to be treated as a “benefit in kind” and that every employee who takes one as part of their job will be taxed for it:

Some of us should be tested regularly because our jobs involve regular contact with large numbers of people.

Consider the doctors and nurses who have saved so many lives already, for example.

Do you think they should be penalised, simply because the nature of their work – saving lives – requires them to take these tests?

It won’t be a step too far because British people are notorious wimps when such impositions are made on their working pay and conditions.

But if you are affected, you should be downing tools and demanding that this decision be refused, and if you aren’t, you should be downing tools in solidarity. This is an attack on all of us.

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Tax offices refuse to charge rich people with evasion – to avoid reputational damage

How sympathetic of our tax guardians! And if I get caught evading my tax responsibilities, will I receive the same treatment?

No?

Then this is unfair and must end.

It also seems contradictory. Look:

A senior HMRC official admitted that the UK tax authority panders to the rich and powerful when chasing them for tax evasion so they can avoid “reputational damage“.

If you ever had any doubt that in Britain there really is “one rule for them, and another for the rest of us“, this utterly astonishing admission by the UK’s tax authority proves it.

Richard Las, a deputy director of HMRC, said that criminal prosecutions are not the “default option” for cases of tax evasion, money laundering or fraud. He went on to say:

“When deciding whether to deploy our resources, we try to understand what motivates different types of offenders. For example some tax offenders are very wealthy, prominent members of the community. We know that these types of people do not want the reputational damage of custodial sentences, and we can use that to our advantage.”

I could understand this strategy if it resulted in a larger repayment to the Treasury, but the evidence indicates that it does not.

Can HMRC point to anyone who has paid more back to the state as a result of the organisation using the threat of reputational damage “to our advantage”? No – because that would make the whole exercise pointless.

And consider this: Is HMRC admitting it blackmails the rich?

The more one thinks about the HMRC statement, the less credible it seems.

This government department is apparently admitting blackmailing rich people with the threat of reputational damage if they don’t pay up – but we have no evidence to show that they have paid everything they owe.

We need a lot more information.

Source: HMRC refuses to charge rich and powerful people with tax evasion to ‘avoid damaging their reputation’ | Evolve Politics

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Tax break for referendum campaign donors is nothing less than theft

Brexit-backing Arron Banks, seen here with Nigel Farage, donated £8.1m to his Leave.EU campaign group [Image: Matt Cardy/Getty Images].

“This is theft. They buy control of our country, then get tax relief on their investment.”

Damn straight.

This Writer can’t help but agree with ‘Brexit Job Losses’ (@MrHickmott).

All you have to do is look at the list of beneficiaries from this proposed law change. None of them are short of a few pennies.

And how many are looking forward to cashing in on Brexit?

Brexit-backing MPs as well as counterparts from the remain campaign have backed a controversial measure to extend a tax break to referendum campaign donors, after several billionaire donors received large demands from HMRC.

The shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Peter Dowd, criticised the proposed amendment to the finance bill from prominent leave campaigners Charlie Elphicke, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Iain Duncan Smith, but which has also been backed by Labour MPs and remain supporters Alison McGovern and Caroline Flint.

It would extend a tax exemption for political parties to referendum campaigns – backdating it to cover the EU referendum.

Last month it was revealed that several prominent leave campaigners who donated large sums to the Brexit campaigns during the 2016 referendum received substantial tax demands from HMRC.

HMRC said it had applied the law equally across all donors, but senior UK cabinet ministers Boris Johnson and Michael Gove expressed concerns about the demands.

Source: MPs on both sides back tax break for referendum campaign donors | Politics | The Guardian


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Is HMRC ‘struggling to deal with fallout of Paradise Papers leak’ because staff numbers have been cut too far?

Isn’t it interesting – some would say fortunate for the Conservatives and their tax avoiding friends – that HM Revenue and Customs don’t seem to have enough staff and resources to investigate the Paradise Papers revelations properly?

The Tories have been cutting Civil Service number wholesale since they came into office in 2010. As the graph (above) shows, the number of staff in HMRC was cut by one-third between 2005 and 2014. It should be admitted that New Labour was in office for the first five years of this period.

Current staffing at HMRC is 60,579, according to UK government figures.

Those staff members are implementing Brexit changes and 15 major programmes already – and must now attempt to add investigating the facts in the Paradise Papers to their duties.

Is it too much?

If the workload is too great, HMRC bosses must face the possibilities that mistakes will be made – unless they decide to concentrate on some projects and exclude others, or take on more staff.

This Writer would suggest that a Tory government is unlikely to take on any more staff!

And no minister would want to admit having pushed ahead with projects, knowing that they were likely to be flawed.

That leaves us with the possibility that some projects will be dropped.

Will the Tories want to drop programmes it has initiated? This seems unlikely.

But shelving an investigation that involves 13.4 million files? Into tax avoidance?

Let us be honest: Tories resent the national assumption that the rich must pay taxes along with everyone else – and must put a higher proportion of their earnings towards those taxes. They assume the poor are more likely to use publicly-funded services, and should therefore pay for them; if those services prove too expensive, then the poor should do without them.

It is an assumption that avoids inconvenient truths, like the fact that we all use some publicly-provided services – rich and poor alike. Our network of public roads is an example that springs to mind.

So it seems likely – to me – that the Tories will find it very easy to delay – perhaps forever – any investigation into tax avoidance, especially one that could implicate members of the Conservative Party, donors to the Conservative Party, or others whose exposure would prove an embarrassment to the Conservative government.

Time will tell if I am proved correct.

HM Revenue and Customs is struggling to cope with a growing workload, including investigating revelations contained within the Paradise Papers, according to parliament’s spending watchdog.

The public accounts committee has warned that it is “far from confident” that the tax authority has sufficient resources to scrutinise claims published in the Guardian last year arising from a leak of 13.4m files.

In a report released on Thursday, MPs concluded that the Paradise Papers leak had highlighted the “potentially dubious practices of many high-profile individuals and corporations” that use offshore tax havens.

The committee said the tax authority was having to make tough decisions about the allocation of its own resources, while implementing Brexit changes and 15 major programmes across government.

The tax authority has until April to outline how it plans to cope with the growing pressures on HMRC.

Meg Hillier, the chair of the committee, said that HMRC’s “high-wire act” is facing “potentially catastrophic consequences” for taking on too many tasks at the same time.”

She added: “HMRC accepts something has to give and it now faces difficult decisions on how best to use its limited resources – decisions that must give full consideration to the needs of all taxpayers.”

Source: HMRC ‘struggling to deal with fallout of Paradise Papers leak’ | Politics | The Guardian


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