The taxman has unleashed 150 of its inspectors on to one large listed UK
company, it has emerged.
HM Revenue & Customs acting chairman Dave Hartnett (above) revealed the
move this week as he answered questions on corporation tax issues before MPs.
‘When I meet the chairman of a public company it is to look him straight in
the eye to explain why and how we are conducting an investigation. That is why I
told the chairman of a public company not many weeks ago that we are putting 150
tax inspectors into his company,’ Hartnett said at a
Accounts Committee meeting.
Hartnett confirmed that the investigation was one of only ‘half a dozen’ that
he had become personally involved in during the past two years. Advisers said
allocating 150 inspectors to a single company was a significant step on the part
Hartnett would not name the company or describe the tax issues inspectors
would be investigating.
But the acting HMRC boss did say that the taxman was encountering new and
aggressive avoidance techniques.
Hartnett said there were pockets of advisers who were designing bespoke,
niche avoidance schemes to business, and that a pattern was emerging where
companies would move brands into an offshore company and then pay for the use of
the brand in order to skirt tax.
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