Union questions Government stance on tax avoidance

5 April 2012
(for immediate release)

In its two reports published today, ARC (the Association of Revenue and Customs) has questioned the Government's commitment to tackle tax avoidance by big business and the wealthy.

The two papers respond to the Government's proposal for an anti-avoidance rule, and a recent Public Accounts Committee report on HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

ARC President Graham Black said: "These two documents clearly demonstrate the gap between Treasury spin and reality. Firstly, the general anti-avoidance rule is a Trojan horse, which suggests tough action while actually facilitating avoidance. And further, the cutback in resources for HMRC shows an unwillingness to treat all taxpayers the same.

"When the country desperately needs money, why cut back on the professional staff needed to tackle avoidance? I am used to HMRC being the thin red line defending the Exchequer - but what worries me is the way in which the thin red line keeps getting thinner."

ARC response to the Aaronson GAAR study

ARC reponse to Public Accounts Committee reports 

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 around 2,600 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 19,000 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) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

4. The two reports are attached: ARC response to "A study to consider whether a general anti-avoidance rule [GAAR] should be introduced into the UK tax system"; and ARC response to Public Accounts Committee reports on PAYE, tax credit debt and cost reduction and HMRC and settling tax disputes.

5. Graham Black, ARC President, is available for comment.

6. For further information contact:

  • Graham Black, ARC President, tel: 020 7401 5559 or 07766 497976.