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Where Taxpayers and Advisers Meet
CIOT responds to naming and shaming Budget measure
08/05/2009, by Sarah Laing, Tax News - Professionals in Practice & Industry
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The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has issued a response to the 'naming and shaming' of tax defaulters as laid out in the Finance Bill 2009.

The CIOT has said that the idea of 'naming and shaming' deliberate tax defaulters (Budget Note 63) is in many ways hard to argue with as a route to helping improve attitudes towards tax compliance. It is a route that has been followed in other countries, notably Ireland.

John Whiting, Chairman of the CIOT's Management of Taxes Sub-Committee, said: "The proposition naturally raises concerns over ensuring that it is only used in appropriate circumstances."

These include the following:

  • That it should be framed in terms of tax evaders who deliberately default and conceal.
  • That there must be no risk of a genuine dispute with HMRC about the treatment of some tax matters leading to HMRC using this new power as a threat to settle.
  • That the amounts involved of £25,000 are clearly small where defaults over a number of years accumulate – there needs to be a proper system of judgement that the offence really warrants such a sanction.
  • That the taxpayer should be able to appeal to the Tax Tribunal against publication.

John Whiting added: "A question for HMRC is what controls will there be over ensuring that someone who is affected by an HMRC mistake does not get into this sanction? And if HMRC do make a ‘naming’ mistake, would proper compensation be paid?

"Making a full disclosure to HMRC can avoid this sanction, but the way that rule is hedged around in the Bill makes one wonder whether it is really as much of a safeguard as it should be."

About The Author

Sarah Laing
Editor, TaxationWeb News

Sarah is a Chartered Tax Adviser. She has been writing professionally since joining CCH Editions in 1998 as a Senior Technical Editor, contributing to a range of highly regarded publications including the British Tax Reporter, Taxes - The Weekly Tax News, the Red & Green legislation volumes, Hardman's, International Tax Agreements and many others. She became Publishing Manager for the tax and accounting portfolio in 2001 and later went on to help run CCH Seminars (including ABG Courses and Conferences).

Sarah originally worked for the Inland Revenue in Newbury and Swindon Tax Offices, before moving out into practice in 1991. She has worked for both small and Big 5 firms. She now works as a freelance author providing technical writing services for the tax and accountancy profession.

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