Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quote of the day - UK's HMRC and the Swiss cheese

The UK's tax authorities, HMRC, need to be feeling deep, deep shame for their willingness effectively to hand over its taxing and law-creating powers to the very multinationals that it is supposed to be taxing.

Now here is another reason why HMRC needs to be ridiculed. A press release that's just come out, saying:
"UK residents with Swiss bank accounts are to be warned that new landmark taxation arrangements are scheduled to come into force on 1 January next year. The new tax agreement between the UK and Switzerland means that account holders must either provide full details to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) or pay over a proportion of the money in their account and a future withholding tax.

Exchequer Secretary David Gauke said:
 “The days when hiding money in Switzerland in order to evade tax are over. Burying your head in the sand is no longer an option."
That quote of the day is complete, unadulterated nonsense. Physically burying your head in the sand may not be an option - that is true. Burying your financial affairs in a discretionary trust or insurance wrapper, though, is absolutely an option. As our recent blog explains, the deals: "have been designed to kill moves to greater transparency in Europe." That is the express purpose of the Swiss deals, and Swiss bankers have even explicitly admitted it. And HMRC designed the Swiss agreement that way.

Britain will get next to nothing from its useless Swiss tax deal. Look at this list of killer loopholes, and more.

Another source of deep shame for HMRC, which will most likely soon be standing out on a limb if Germany rejects its own useless Swiss deal, as seems likely.


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