Cut tax avoidance by investing in staff, says senior HMRC union leader

6 February 2015

For immediate release

Responding to the Public Accounts Committee (ARC) report published today covering the promotion of tax avoidance, the Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) President, Tony Wallace, said:

"ARC agrees with PAC that tax avoidance must be tackled wherever we find it. Avoidance damages the very fabric of our society and that is why ARC members are so focused on raising the stakes on avoidance work and tackling high-risk promoters.

"Since 2010, the work of ARC members has brought in £31bn additional tax from intervening with large business and tackling non-compliance. But we could do so much more if the Government listened to our consistent line on the need for more senior resource.

"Our research shows that for an investment of around £300m on HMRC staff, we could collect £8bn more in tax - a return of more than 25 to 1.

"This is the best 'invest to save' case being made in Whitehall, but instead HMRC continues to lose senior staff and, with pay not keeping up with the private sector, too often we are seeing gamekeepers becoming poachers.

"That widening pay gap at the top of the profession needs to addressed urgently - politicians have to bite this bullet.

"ARC members have a proven track record of rooting out avoidance wherever we find it. That's why HMRC warrants greater investment and why its senior professionals deserve better reward and recognition."

Notes for editors

1. The Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) is a union representing senior staff in HM Revenue and Customs, including tax inspectors, accountants, lawyers, managers and other leading professionals. ARC represents members in HMRC at grade 7 and above, and also trainees in grade 7 entry schemes. It is also a section of the FDA.

2. The FDA is the trade union and professional body representing 18,000 of the UK's senior civil and public servants. Our members include policy advisors, senior managers, tax inspectors, economists, statisticians, accountants, special advisers, government lawyers, diplomats, crown prosecutors and NHS managers.

3. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) can be described as 'the senior public servants' union' and should be referred to simply as 'the FDA'.

4. For further information contact:

· Tony Wallace, ARC President, tel: 020 7401 5555.

· Kay Hender, Communications Manager, tel: 020 7401 5589 or 07980 700747.