HMRC, the British tax authority, is 'struggling to deal with fallout of Paradise Papers leak,' according to Parliament's public accounts committee, whose new report describes an already understaffed agency whose workload has been increased by the preparations for Brexit.
HMRC is also the way that the government pays for itself, and the UK is notorious for the tax-evasion schemes practiced by its richest, most powerful people -- who overwhelmingly back the Conservative party, who have slashed and slashed at funding for agencies like HMRC (you can see where this will end up).
The Swissleaks, Panama Papers, Paradise Papers and other mass leaks of data concerning tax evasion and financial secrecy have implicated the very same major donors and Tory party grandees who continue to demand cuts to public spending.
HMRC investigations from just one of these leaks, the Panama Papers, have brought in GBP100M in additional revenue, with more to come, while the new revenue from tackling overseas tax avoidance has totalled GBP 2.8B since 2010.
The committee said the transformation programme under way at HMRC – involving office closures, relocation of staff into 13 regional centres and digitalisation of tax returns – is “not deliverable” as originally envisaged due to the increased pressures. It added that the agency estimates it will fall short of its 2020 target of £717m savings by £10m.
It gave HMRC a deadline of April to set out how it will respond to growing pressures.
Revenue sources said that the BBC, ICIJ and the Guardian have not yet handed over documentation related to the Paradise Papers, which could take months to analyse.
An HMRC spokesperson said: “Following the Paradise Papers data leak, HMRC continues to look very closely at the information disclosed in the public domain, to see if it reveals anything new that could add to existing leads and investigations.
HMRC 'struggling to deal with fallout of Paradise Papers leak' [Rajeev Syal/The Guardian]
(via Naked Capitalism)