Tax dodgers 'should be named and shamed', say MPs

Tax form being filled in
Image caption HMRC is being asked to 'take a more robust approach'

UK tax authorities should "publicly name and shame" those who use or sell tax avoidance schemes, a committee of MPs has said.

The Public Accounts Committee says that with £5bn lost every year due to tax avoidance, Revenue and Customs (HMRC) must get "more robust in its approach".

The report claims that the promoters behind tax avoidance schemes are "running rings" around HMRC.

It also advises looking at Australia's system.

Australian tax firms have to submit schemes for approval before they can market them. That helps to avoid the UK's situation where avoidance schemes are set up in the knowledge that it will take a while for the government to catch up with them. There are no penalties for promoting them.

Margaret Hodge, MP, chair of the Public Accounts Committee said: " HMRC publicises details of schemes that do not work but does not name the promoters or the clients. We have seen how public anger and consumer pressure can influence large companies, such as Starbucks, to behave more responsibly."

She added: "Australia has also introduced powers to fine those who promote schemes that could not be reasonably expected to work or comply with the advance ruling system, We encourage HMRC to look seriously at whether these and other measures could be effective in the UK."

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