It used to be argued that death duties were a "voluntary tax" since those liable to them were rich enough to employ clever accountants who worked out ways of avoiding paying them. A report published this week indicates that much the same is true of Corporation Tax. The report suggests that something like half a million companies disappear from the register each year, and the total tax unpaid is probably in the region of £16billion. HMRC apparently lacks the resources to chase them up. Bizarrely, HMRC has shed some 30 000 staff in recent years and a further 15 000 are to go before 2014 under the coalition spending cuts.
According to the report, the annual cost of running HMRC £4.4billion. How crazy to further emasculate the goose which could collect the golden eggs.
A reminder that HMRC itself estimates that the total of uncollected tax from all sources in the last financial year reached £42billion, so 9% of all taxes. To be clear, that is uncollected, not including tax avoided or evaded.
It is shameful to live in a country which puts so much energy into hounding so-called benefits cheats, particularly the mentally and physically ill, and is so "relaxed" about unpaid taxes.