TaxAdministrationTreasury evades costly tax questions

Treasury evades costly tax questions

Avoiding the question: the Treasury's keeping quiet

What are the chances of the Treasury revealing its estimates of the likely
cost of the group litigation orders – the mammoth tax cases being brought by
around a thousand multi-nationals?

Pretty slim, on the evidence of the responses to Accountancy Age’s
Freedom of Information Act request on the topic.

The Treasury’s response in full was that it would be too expensive to find
the documents we had asked for, and that even the documents it had found, in the
time it had been looking, were exempted for several reasons. It would damage the
economy, it implied, damage policy formulation and prejudice relations with the
ECJ.

Some have put the figure at between £10bn and £20bn, potentially upsetting
the Chancellor’s budget arithmetic.

Accountancy Age asked for the five most recent policy documents
discussing the fiscal impact of the actions. The Treasury said that initial
searches it had done had yielded 17,000 results, and that it would thus take too
long to conclude the search. ‘Six officials spent a total of 25 hours searching
for information within the scope of your request,’ the response said.

Waseem Khokkar, a tax lawyer at DLA Piper Rudnick and formerly of Dorsey
& Whitney, where he was involved with the actions, said: ‘It’s a bit
disingenuous to say there are 17,000 documents that relate [to the GLOs’
impact]. There has been a lot of documentation going backwards and forwards. But
I would be surprised if there are more than half a dozen [on what they are
worth].’

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