Tax dodgers publicly named in HMRC crackdown

List of nine small businesses criticised for 'identifying plumbers and hairdressers when it should be naming global corporations'

Tax dodgers have been named publicly for the first time by HM Revenue & Customs in a crackdown on "deliberate defaulters". A list of nine small businesses was released showing companies receiving penalties ranging from £11,000 to almost £300,000.

They include Cheshire wine merchant The Trade Beverage Company, fined almost £292,000; Nottingham knitware manufacturer Menemis, fined almost £87,000; Bolton coach operator Brian Clifford Tattersall, fined more than £52,000; and a plumber and hairdresser fined nearly £11,000 and over £17,000 respectively.

HMRC will update the list, published on its website, every three months.

The list was criticised by one tax campaigner for "identifying plumbers and hairdressers when it should be naming global corporations".

Richard Murphy of Tax Research called the list of names "plain, straightforward hypocrisy." He said: "The people named are easy targets. There are clearly different categories of tax crime, with small businesses who put cash in HMRC's pockets named and shamed; but banks, wealthy lawyers and global corporations offered anonymity. It seems that only little people pay tax and only little people are named and shamed."

HMRC has been legally able in cases involving tax of more than £25,000 to publish the names of people who have received penalties for deliberate errors in their tax returns or for deliberately failing to comply with their tax obligations, since April 2010 – but this is the first time it has used the powers.

HMRC said the exercise was part of a wider crackdown on tax evasion, ensuring "everyone pays their fair share, creating a level playing field for honest people and businesses, and cracking down on the minority who seek to evade tax".

Treasury minister David Gauke said: "The publication of these names sends a clear signal that cheating on tax is wrong and reassures people who pay their taxes – the vast majority – that there are consequences for those who refuse to tell HMRC about their full liability."


Mark King

The GuardianTramp

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