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Treasury lines its pockets from HMRC tax avoidance crackdown

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has been working overtime in cracking down on tax avoidance, resulting in nearly £24 billion in reclaimed tax revenue.

Treasury coffers are £23.9 billion richer from unpaid taxes that were collected after last year’s tax haul was finally tallied up. The official figures, which were released just the other day, was £3.2 billion higher than 2012’s haul and a full £9 billion higher than the year previous. On top of that, Chancellor George Osborne is most likely chuffed to bits considering the target he set in autumn of 2013 has been eclipsed by almost £1 billion.

This is of course thanks to the newly revitalised way the taxman has been going about tax avoiders in the UK; HMRC has been much more aggressive about tracking down missing cash than it has been in years past, spurred by public outcry following high profile scandals such as the row over Jimmy Carr’s use of a personal service company to reduce his tax burden. For what it’s worth, it’s all well and good that the tax authority is going about turning over rocks and bits of dirt looking for loose change but it seems to me that the focus has been placed too squarely on the shoulders of contractors.

Contract workers are indeed being targeted quite aggressively to ensure they’re not engaging in behaviours such as routing their cash overseas or disguising their employment status and trying to slip past IR35. I’m not saying that there aren’t some bad apples out there in the contracting community – every family has a black sheep or two in it – but why is HMRC and the Treasury focusing with such laser-like intensity at self-employed Brits when there are literally billions of pounds being funneled to places like Luxembourg by Starbucks and other multinationals? Starbucks only paid £4 million on its billions of revenue last year – you’re telling me that some poor bastard that runs his own business out of his home office in Leeds is a bigger and more lucrative target?

Of course not – the nation’s self-employed are easier targets. Who wants to go after a massive multinational with its cadre of lawyers and incredibly deep pockets when you can bully individual Brits into coughing up so much cash that it hurts? Things like this sicken me sometimes.

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