Unrest Growing Over UK Tax System

November 17, 2010 Taxation in UK

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), 100 Parliament StUK taxpayers are growing increasingly uneasy over the UK tax regulations and the Government’s fiscal policies, with calls for a reevaluation of the system to make it fairer and more equitable.

A rising number of Britons are voicing their concerns with the coalition government’s recent changes to the tax system, with a demonstration being planned for December 4th to protest for an overhaul of the tax regulations. To explain the grievances of many taxpayers, on November 15th Richard Murphy, founder of the Tax Justice Network, published the Manifesto of Tax Justice, which highlights the several concerns that many hold with the Government and the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The manifesto also attempts to propose solutions to the problems.

According to the document, UK taxpayers have numerous concerns about various aspects of tax system and the subsequent use of revenues. Chief among the concerns are several issues surrounding the taxation of big businesses. The manifesto notes that over the next four years, large businesses will be the only structure in the economy which can anticipate any tax cuts. It also claims claims that the cuts will culminate in 2014, with large businesses paying lower tax rates than most small businesses and individuals in the UK.

In regards to banks, the manifesto claims that the institutions which caused the recent global financial crisis are paying disproportionately little tax, with UK authorities adamantly opposing the idea of a tax on risky bank transactions, and the new bank levy raising less money than the one-off Bankers’ Bonus Tax.

The manifesto also pointed out that the UK Government seems to be doing very little to fight tax evasion through offshore jurisdictions, which is believed to cost the country approximately GBP 18.5 billion annually. It notes that the UK itself appears to be a tax haven for overseas individuals and businesses. The manifesto suggests that the Government should abolish its domicile rules and end end the veil of secrecy surrounding offshore companies and trusts be banned.

In the introduction to the manifesto, the author maintained that neither he nor the Tax Justice Network are directly related to the planned demonstrations, but only serves to outline the concerns of that many taxpayers hold.

Additionally, according to other sources national taxpayers are concerned by the Government’s upcoming public spending package, which Chancellor George Osborne said would be worth approximately GBP 81 billion. According to the manifesto, individual taxpayers are worried about the precedent set by the recent Vodafone tax scandal, in which the HMRC excused the company from nearly GBP 6 billion of tax liabilities.

Photo by lesteph