Taxman faces advertising probe

Taxman faces advertising probe

Small business body sees red over HMRC advert it claims depicts self-employed as tax evaders

HM Revenue and Customs has been referred to the Advertising Standards
Authority over an advert that shows a plumber hiding under a kitchen sink with
the tagline: ‘With your help, we’ll make sure self employed people who don’t pay
their tax have nowhere to hide.’

The Federation of Small Businesses said today that it had complainted to the
ASA over the advert, which appeared in the national press in mid-Decembert,
calling it ‘offensive’.

Simon Sweetman, vice-chair of the FSB’s tax policy unit, said: ‘We are
disappointed that a campaign that could have gained widespread support has
instead resorted to a clumsy advert that tars all of the UK’s 2.72 million
self-employed people with the same brush. The vast majority of self-employed
people abide by the law and pay their taxes.

‘We find it particularly offensive that the implication in the advert is that
all self-employed people do not pay their taxes. The self-employed in the UK
contribute to the economic well-being of this country and this advert is a
harmful and misleading attack upon them.

‘We have therefore complained to the ASA formally about this advertisement
and we hope that HMRC will withdraw the advert and rethink their campaign.’

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