TUC urges further crackdown on avoidance

More could be done to raise tax revenues through anti-avoidance measures,
claims the Trades Union Congress.

Despite raising nearly £1bn with the measures introduced so far, the TUC
argues that there is huge potential to raise even more if tougher measures are
taken and more staff hired.

In a report written by tax adviser Richard Murphy, it is estimated that £990m
in extra revenues has been taken in through the government’s anti-avoidance
strategy, but there had been “missed opportunities” to take more.

This included the failure to tackle income shifting, where higher rate
tax-payers shift their income to basic rate or non-tax payers, despite having
launched a consultation exercise.

“The Government has made a good start in cracking down on tax avoidance and
HMRC has showed real determination in chasing the tax dodgers,” said TUC
secretary general Brendan Barber. “But there is still huge potential to raise a
significant amount of money from a fairer tax system that asks the super-rich to
make a proper contribution.”

The report also put forward a number of proposals it would like to see
included in next week’s pre-Budget report, which included:

a minimum rate of tax to be paid on the income of those earning more than
£100,000 a year to ensure that they do not unduly benefit from tax reliefs and

abolishing the UK’s domicile rule as a first step towards simplifying overly
complex rules on personal tax residence;

introducing a new law called a ‘general anti-avoidance principle’ that treats
all tax avoidance as unacceptable and therefore open to challenge;

tackling income shifting by reforming the way in which small companies are
taxed to simplify current arrangements and prevent abuse; and,

stopping the current round of HMRC staff cuts.

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