HMRC accepted a mere fraction of what it was due. The “deal” followed discussions earlier this year between HMRC boss Dave Hartnett, Vodafone finance director Andy Halford (a member of George Osborne’s “business forum for competitiveness and tax”) and David Cruickshank, a tax avoidance guru from Deloitte, brought in bizarrely by Hartnett to act for Vodafone.
Following the talks HMRC officials (but not those who had investigated the case or knew anything about it) were told to go away and reverse-engineer a deal with Vodafone tax boss (and ex-HMRC director) John Connors that came up with a bill of £800m. That was the figure Halford and Cruickshank wanted to pay: it bore no relation to the legal position.
The amount of tax 'dodged' by ridiculously wealth companies and people is many many times more than what is fiddled by 'Benefit Cheats', but we only ever really hear about the latter...
I know a feller who works for a 'charity'; he doesn't get paid a salary, but takes 'expenses' and 'loans' from the 'charity' account. Pays bugger all tax. I don't know exactly how it works, suffice to say that it's perfectly legal. Madness.
What a crazy situation, where 'tax avoidance advice' is actually a whole industry....
And the HMRC actively encouraged it in this case.
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