Good morning world, I’m sure not angry with any of you good folk. Unsurprisingly it is HMG that made my bile rise this damp, soggy morning.
The world that we call Twatter made me aware of this headline this morning
The taxman has been probing 6,000 super-wealthy cheats – but just one of them has been convicted of fraud.
Tax dodgers caught stashing cash in Swiss bank accounts will not be jailed after a deal was struck with the revenue. The swindlers were on a list of people with secret HSBC bank accounts in Switzerland handed over by IMF chief Christine Lagarde more than two years ago when she was France’s finance minister. Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis was jailed for publishing the names of 2,000 tax-dodging industrialists, financiers and politicians which were given to the Athens government.
Super George Osborne is quoted as saying in August “We will be as tough on the richest who evade tax as we are on those who cheat on benefits.”
In 2010/11 8210 people were convicted of Benefit Fraud, of which 365 were sent to the House of Correction (4.5%). This is despite Her Majesty’s Government declaring a Crackdown on Benefit Fraud. To be fair however, it is totally correct that sentencing should be in the remit of the Courts and if they deem prison is not the appropriate sentence that is up to them. Where it all starts to go wrong is with George ‘The Submarine’ Osborne’s quote above.
Where have 4.5% of the super-rich tax evaders been sent to prison? Only one out of 6,000 has even been prosecuted, so that doesn’t really seem to fit in.
Labour MP John Mann said yesterday the deal gave a “green light to tax evasion”.
He added: “If it was benefit cheats they would be locked up. The same should happen to rich tax dodgers.
“Everyone else is expected to pay their dues. These wealthy people are allowed to get away with it.
“HM Revenue and Customs should release their names. We are entitled to know who is not paying their dues.
“It is one law for the rich and another for everyone else.” Can’t say I can argue with any of that.
A spokesman for HM Revenue and Customs claimed its investigation was “a major success”. No it’s not, it will be a major success when those responsible are sent to prison AND made to pay back their back taxes plus interest and hit with heavy fines.
The bar for criminal prosecution is high but one person has been convicted and “further criminal investigations are in the pipeline”, the spokesman said.
“We expect to recover hundreds of millions of unpaid taxes and anyone who has not come forward should do so now.
“If they don’t, HMRC are clear that they will be relentlessly pursued.”
The millionaire tax cheat
MILLIONAIRE property developer Michael Shanly is so far the only person with a “secret” Swiss HSBC bank account to be convicted of tax evasion.
He was ordered to pay £469,444 in fines and costs at Woodford Green court, North London, in July for failing to pay £430,000 in tax.
He had already voluntarily paid £387,103 to HMRC, bringing the total to £856,547.
Yet it hardly made a dent in his personal fortune. Shanly, 67, who lives in Berkshire, is believed to be worth £160million.
He was ranked 528th on last year’s Sunday Times rich list.
The single mum benefits cheat
Single mum Carol Irving was sent to jail for six months in June for benefit fraud after failing to tell the authorities she had a partner living with her.
She admitted two charges of failing to disclose a change in circumstances that would affect her benefits.
Irving was overpaid by £44,527 after she didn’t to tell officials her partner Neil Hall had been living with her family on and off over five years.
So, the bottom line is £44k of Benefit Cheating (clearly wrong, I’m not defending it) gets 6 months prison, whereas avoiding £430k in tax gets a fine and made to pay the tax back.
And I’ve to see any evidence of the remaining 5,999 being vigorously pursued by HMRC and appearing in a courtroom near you.
The Greek journalist was very swiftly despatched to jail with no chance of passing Go or collecting £200. George Osborne spouts on about hunting these people down, but where is the evidence to support that? The impression I am being left with is that there is no will to pursue tax cheats etc etc, after all most of them them have probably gone through the same educational establishments as HMG. Show us all that you’ve grown a pair and hunt these people down with the same enthusiasm that you would a member of an organised crime gang. Poor old Christopher Tapping got extradited to the US by Teflon Theresa for just selling a few batteries.
That’s why I’m angry today.