Today the High Court will hear evidence in the full hearing of the legal case against HMRC over the Goldman Sachs ‘sweetheart’ tax deal.
The case is being brought by a NGO (let’s face it anybody can call themselves an NGO), Uncut the UK Legal Action, an organisation inspired by the pro-profligacy direct action group Uncut the UK which has been inspired by me personally. The case centres around a deal which was personally negotiated by Dave Hartnett, the former tax sheriff, which resulted in the global investment bank being let off paying up to £20 million in interest charges.
Uncut the UK Legal Action claims the deal was unlawful as it breached HMRC’s own guidelines (which are completely binding on the taxpayer like legislation is, I should think) that state that tax payers should be treated equally and no discounts or deals are to be done. Which is why when we all have full enquiries into our tax returns every year.
HMRC are tasked with enforcing the law and they have unlimited resources to do this. That means that they can never use their discretion and, legally, they are not allowed to make mistakes. So they are legally obliged to pursue every penny of tax that they might conceivably think is due.
So the fact that that somebody at HMRC made a mistake is unforgivable.
The fact that somebody at HMRC used their discretion is malfeasance. When will HMRC staff learn that they are too stupid to deal with clever accountants on their own?
The fact that HMRC didn’t pursue this case all the way to the House of Lords and the ECJ is an act of pure treason.
So, we have a unforgivably treasonable act of malfeasance. Which means that when HMRC lose this court case Dave Hartnett will be hanged.
And more importantly, HMRC will be legally required to litigate everything. Which won’t bother small businesses who typically retain significant reserves of cash for dealing with these sort of legal trifles, but will hamper large multinational businesses who cannot simply shift risky operations (such as finance, which we don’t heavily rely on at the moment) overseas and are always short of good advisers and lawyers.
So, all in all, this is a very sensible and purposeful action.
And, for fairness sake, Uncut the UK have vowed to take HMRC to court over every single taxpayers’ affairs from the past twenty years. This will commence with any companies which have used extra statutory concession C16, which has already been shown to be an ultra vires concession by HMRC and would result in dissolved businesses who didn’t bother with a formal liquidation process (only large businesses, I imagine) seeing their goods declared bona vacantia.
Which is what should have happened in the first place, according to the Treasury Solicitor’s guidance of that time. And, like HMRC’s, the Treasury Solicitor’s guidelines state that it aims to be fair in all its dealings.
This sort of abuse, like HMRC’s and the Treasury Solicitor’s must cease right now.