When I read that Amazon are paying 0.1% in tax and getting away with it because they register everything through Luxembourg, although I’m told it’s quite legal, I really do feel sorry for some of the people we’re dealing with.
We’ve always taken a number of pro bono cases on where people have problems with HMRC but can’t afford to pay anyone to sort it out. We run a department which I supervise, dealing with these small cases, and if I tell you the amount of effort HMRC take to chase these people – I’ve got one whose got six kids and works part time as a builder. He’s taken loans from the likes of Amigo Loans, which will tell you that these people can’t raise money but are prepared to pay extortionate rates to try and raise a few quid to pay for the kid’s food, clothing and things like that.
We sent a letter explaining everything – dot all the i’s cross all the t’s – and still HMRC come back with pages and pages of questions.
You wonder what the dickens has gone wrong and for people to scream out – yes high earners can get away with it – yes indeed they seem to be able too. I’m not having a go at the high earners using schemes or trying to pay less tax but I still think the whole world has gone upside down.
Here in England where now avoidance, which was illegal at one time –when I last looked at it, has now become synonymous with evasion. It really is extraordinary.