The Revenue has moved to dispel stories that it has taken the pressure off big businesses as part of its drive to improve guidance and develop a more ‘enabling’ service for large companies. The taxman has been shocked into making the statement by stories that the Revenue is making concessions to large businesses which has cut the corporation tax collected.
Dave Hartnett, head of policy at the Revenue, told Accountancy Age: ‘We haven’t gone soft. Those who want to enter into avoidance and cheat are finding us as tough as ever.’
But Hartnett did say the Revenue was allowing a ‘soft landing’ period for the payment of quarterly installments of corporation tax to continue.
He said the Revenue was still refining its advice to companies and was therefore not imposing penalties ‘as vigorously’ as it otherwise might.
There is, as yet, no date set for the end of the settling in period for quarterly installments. Hartnett said there were significant issues for business to overcome despite growing evidence indicating that companies are coming up to speed with the new rules which were introduced in 1999. He said a line would be drawn under the ‘soft landing’ sooner rather than later.
Press reports claim the Revenue is collecting just one tenth of the £20bn of uncollected corporation tax each year. But the Revenue is adamant there is no basis in fact for these numbers. Hartnett is responsible for producing the Revenue’s 2001 report Review of Links with Business, at the behest of Gordon Brown, which set a number of objectives for the department’s Large Business Office.
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