The Jimmy Carr problem: MPs want tax dodgers named and shamed

Jimmy Carr was found to use a tax dodging scheme, despite doing a TV routine mocking the issue.
Jimmy Carr was found to use a tax dodging scheme, despite doing a TV routine mocking the issue.

By Tony Hudson

Companies and individuals who profit from tax avoidance should be 'named and shamed', according to an influential group of MPs.

The public accounts committee (PAC) report called for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to make the names of people who sell or use tax avoidance schemes public in order to more effectively combat the issue.

"The complexity of tax law creates opportunities for avoidance, there are no penalties to stop people promoting these schemes ", committee chair Margaret Hodge said.


"It has allowed a system to evolve where the die are loaded in favour of the promoters of tax avoidance schemes".

The focus of the report was the sale of 'boutique' tax avoidance schemes which exploit loopholes in the tax law to reduce the amount the client pays.

The use of tax dodging schemes recently hit the headlines after comedian Jimmy Carr was found to use one, despite doing a routine mocking the issue.

Current HMRC estimates say roughly £5 billion was lost due to various tax avoidance schemes in the last year.

The report argued public anger and consumer pressure were helpful tools for convincing large companies to behave more responsibly, with the widespread outrage at tax dodging by Starbucks and Amazon being notable examples.

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