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HMRC 'is tougher on small businesses', report suggests

20 Dec 2013

Margaret Hodge, the chair of the Public Accounts Committee, has said that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) ‘seems to lose its nerve’ when pursuing multinationals for tax that they owe.

A report carried out by the committee stated that, ‘the lack of prosecutions against multinational corporations seems at odds with HMRC’s stance on pursuing tax debt from small and medium-sized businesses in the UK’.

It also reported that HMRC failed to use all sanctions available to them, in order to robustly pursue all unpaid tax and has not proven to be on the side of people who pay their tax bills in full.

HMRC strongly disagreed with the comments. A spokesperson said, ‘HMRC seeks to collect the tax that is due from all taxpayers, so that everyone pays their fair share in accordance with the tax laws passed by Parliament’.

The 2012 Autumn Statement estimated a total of £3.12bn in unpaid tax would be recuperated from Swiss bank accounts in 2013/14, although only £440m has been claimed back so far.