The latest figures have revealed that HM Revenue & Customs has involvement in 2721 disputes with some of the UK’s largest multi national companies. HMRC is being investigated by the National Audit Office following some of the latest tax deals, the most recent controversy involving the deal with Vodafone for a £1.2bn tax settlement.
The tax in dispute totals approximately £25bn, with some of the disputes dating back to 1990. The taxes being disputed cover the whole range of taxes, from Corporation Tax to insurance premium tax. According to HMRC most of the disputes are recent, with only a small number dating back several years.
The Large Business Service department of HMRC deals with the collection of tax from the largest companies in the United Kingdom, around 770 companies. Some of these companies are involved in disputes with HMRC as the LBS query the tax returns which have been submitted, and their accuracy. Some of these investigations could go on for many years, eventually being settled in the European courts.
The figures which were released are said to be indicators for the LBS so that they can maximise the effectiveness of their resources. However, the figures were released under the freedom of information act, following criticism of large multinational companies not paying their share of tax. Campaigners who are fighting against the massive cuts in spending, demonstrated against Vodafone in particular, following speculation that HMRC agreed to forego £4.8bn of tax in a settlement with the company.
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