Govt clamps down on tax avoidance
George Osborne has sent a stern warning to multinational companies who avoid paying their taxes in the UK.
The Chancellor said today that such firms should be aware that "we’re coming after them" as the Treasury prepares to channel more money into HMRC to tackle tax avoidance.
A report from MPs today criticised the Revenue for being “way too lenient” on multinational companies avoiding tax.
The Public Accounts Committee said civil servants have “lacked determination” to deal with “outrageous” avoidance from multinational companies such Amazon and Starbucks.
Speaking alongside Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, Mr Osborne said: "It’s very important that people who are trying to avoid their taxes understand we’re coming after them, and multinational companies understand that we want them in Britain, we want successful businesses, we want a very competitive tax system in Britain, but people have to pay those taxes that are due, and that includes multinational companies.
"So we’ve a very clear message today: most people pay their taxes; a few don’t, and those few we are coming after."
Mr Alexander earlier welcomed the fact that customers were putting pressure on companies to be more transparent about their tax arrangements.
"They’ve reported that they’ve had lots of pressures from their customers and that’s a good thing, it’s good that the public exercises its rights there," he told the Today programme.
Margaret Hodge, the chair of the PAC, warned corporation tax was in danger of becoming a "voluntary" system, and urged HMRC to be "much more assertive" in tackling the problem.
But Treasury Minister David Gauke rejected suggestions the authorities had been too lenient, and insisted HMRC had been working hard to "strengthen" its ability to deal with avoidance schemes.