Sunday, 5 September 2010

The real tax fraudsters

Another legacy of debt from the last Labour government was revealed last week - the "debt" of around 6 million people who, through no fault of their own, have been paying the wrong income tax. Over a million of those people have been underpaying and will be hit with bills averaging £1500 which they'll have to pay over the next year. For some of those people, this is a horrendous legacy / millstone round their necks. Many people these days are really struggling and budgeting hard to pay their bills and not get into debt. And yet they ARE in debt and it's the fault of HMRC. What I want to know is will these people be allowed to work out a manageable repayment plan? If not and they get into debt because of it, what help will the Westminster government give them? (After all they caused the problems in the first place.)

I also want to know how much effort is going to go into recovering tax from folk who actively avoid / evade paying it. It's always happened and it's much harder to detect than benefit fraud because it tends to be people of wealth who do it. And when you already have wealth, you can buy ways to hide the evidence. When I was at drama school in the 80s, we still had grants. My parents were nurses. I got a half grant. There were several children of millionaires in my class and they ALL seemed to be on the maximum grant. It's just how it is when you can afford to get someone to massage your figures.

But it's now how it should be. So whilst the Westminster government is pursuing folk for unpaid tax that they knew nothing about, how about they put resources and intelligence into tracking down people who are getting wealthier and wealthier by actively and criminally avoiding paying the tax that everyone else has no choice about?

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