HMRC under scrutiny from MPs

10 April 2018

A subcommittee of the Treasury select committee is to investigate HMRC's approach to tackling avoidance and evasion, and whether the tax body is fair to both businesses and individuals.

The Treasury Sub-Committee will scrutinise the steps that HMRC has taken to address public concerns about the actions of individuals and businesses determined not to pay their fair share of tax. It will examine the amount of tax lost to avoidance and offshore evasion.

It will also look at whether HMRC has the resources, skills and powers needed to bring about a real change in the behaviour of tax dodgers and those who profit by helping them.

The Conduct of Tax Enquiries and the Resolution of Tax Disputes

HMRC carries out enquiries to check in detail that the information on a tax return is correct and complete. This may reveal disagreements about the amount of tax due. In its code of governance for resolving tax disputes, HMRC outlines internal governance processes that are intended to ensure that it deals with all tax disputes fairly and in an even-handed manner.

Nevertheless, some people question whether HMRC does 'sweetheart deals' with (and shows preferential treatment to) big business, and others feel that they have received harsh treatment from HMRC. The Treasury Sub-Committee will examine whether HMRC’s approach to conducting tax enquiries, resolving tax disputes, and determining the amount of tax to be paid meets the standards set out in its code of governance. This will also cover agreements reached outside HMRC's formal enquiry process.