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HMRC 'could learn from Australia' on tax avoidance

HM Revenue and Customs are the losers in a cat and mouse game with accountants promoting tax avoidance schemes, MPs claim.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee says HMRC should consider publicising names of individuals and firms who encourage their clients to join such schemes.

It says £5 billion a year is lost through aggressive tax avoidance.

The committee also recommends that the government look at the system in Australia.

Michael Whalley, a partner at Minter Ellison, a UK-based Australian law firm, told Today programme presenter James Naughtie that adopting an Australian system for tax disclosure might be beneficial.

"The system in Australia means that people have to disclose schemes to the Australian tax office and talk to them about the scheme," he said.

"[They then] get a ruling on it in order to promote it successfully - and unless they have that ruling it's difficult to market that scheme."

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Tuesday 19 February 2013.

  • 19 Feb 2013