Coffee House

Big Brother cash machine campaign costs nearly £100k

22 February 2013

11:00 AM

22 February 2013

11:00 AM

Remember those menacing HMRC eyes that Fraser found staring out at him from a cashpoint last month? Well, it turns out they’re a pretty expensive pair of eyes. A Freedom of Information request by the TPA’s Matt Sinclair returned this week, revealing that this cashpoint campaign on tax evasion cost just under £100,000. The response says:

‘The total media spend for the Evasion ATM advertising campaign specified in your request was £95,930.40, excluding VAT. This amount was approved by the Cabinet Office.

‘To set this figure in the correct context, the Government has made around £1 billion available to HMRC to tackle avoidance, evasion and fraud to bring in an extra £7 billion by 2014/15. The advertising in ATM machines is just one strand of this work.’

Yesterday the taxman published details of hairdressers and grocers who are ‘tax dodgers’, either defaulting on payments due to the Revenue, or who had made deliberate errors in their returns. There’s plenty to be said about reform of the whole system, but it’s also curious that someone at one end of the income scale who cannot afford to minimise their tax bill legally and who doesn’t comply with the demands of the taxman gets named online, while those big corporations and high net worth individuals at the other end of the scale can afford to drive down their bills, with the only threat being a coffee meeting in an HMRC office.

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  • Bitcoin ATM

    “It isn’t always easy to explain to the general public how white-hat hackers”

  • http://www.bitcoinmoneyatm.com Bitcoinmoneyatm

    “your articles and all thing is very nice MY Bitcoin ATM machine seems to be solving a problem”

  • dalai guevara

    Was that a woman of Greek origin staring at you there? How appropriate.

  • http://profiles.google.com/alanmdouglas Alan Douglas

    I had an HMRC “inspection” of a previous year, which was nothing but a criminal gouging exercise. Thus I became a “tax-dodger” – they noticed me, therefore I had to be guilty, not a single reason I gave for various monies NOT being income was allowed, and I was penalised £ 26,000. My accountant was so upset he refused to charge me his £ 3000 + for work done. So much for HMRC “honesty” and fair dealing. Bunch of legalised crooks.

    Alan Douglas

  • HooksLaw

    The PM was criticised in some quarters for naming some companies – ie like Starbucks, he was criticised for naming individuals- like Jimmy Carr.
    Osborne has repeatedly criticised big companies
    http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/george-osborne-pushes-crackdown-tax-100946979.html
    Cable has criticised companies for not paying tax

    So the final conclusion is this totally spurious and nonsensical post is totally wrong.
    Another example of the tabloid Spectator.

  • Smithersjones2013

    There’s plenty to be said about reform of the whole system, but it’s
    also curious that someone at one end of the income scale who cannot
    afford to minimise their tax bill legally and who doesn’t comply with
    the demands of the taxman gets named online, while those big
    corporations and high net worth individuals at the other end of the
    scale can afford to drive down their bills, with the only threat being a
    coffee meeting in an HMRC office.

    Well it didn’t take that long for the sons of Blair (Cameron and Osborne) to start adopting the same sort of bully boy tactics against ‘the little platoons’ that are rejecting them. This lot are no better than Labour

  • Jebediah

    Nasty stuff when the state sets out to deliberately intimidate the population. The ends do not justify the means. The BBC did something similar a few years ago.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Thanks to a “computer glitch” by Santander many self-assessment people paying their tax online this year ended up paying twice or even three times the amount of tax required. Those who attempted to pay online were informed the transaction had failed due to a server error (when in fact the money had been collected) and then paid via a HMRC telephone operator also had tax taken twice. This did not show up at Santander so there was no subsequent auto repayment. Consequently those people were told that as HMRC accounts take 30 days to be credited they would not receive a re-payment until after 2nd March. For the self-employed and small businesses this could have caused significant cash flow issues but there is no “default penalty” against HMRC.

    In the light of this FUBAR behaviour by HMRC naming and shaming the tax avoiding or defaulting “small fry” is outrageous. It is nothing less than an unwarranted demand with menaces, a criminal offence against the whole tax-paying population, since the only justification for it is the intimidatory effect on people who have not avoided or defaulted.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    i wonder when they will get around top naming and shaming BBC employees who pretend they are self employed BBC employees

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      and Quangocrats

      • Colonel Mustard

        Especially quangocrats. Prominent fake charity/quango champagne socialists who avoid tax should be named and shamed.

      • dalai guevara

        Is Whitehall now classed as a quango? My word, they have made cuts to the public sector, right at source!

  • Simon Semere

    I just think that HMRC go for the ‘hair dressers and grocers’ because their easier to frighten, psychological terror and they feel their meeting the evasion problem. But the big fish using sought out loops are the ones doing the damage to the economy, hasn’t HMRC got the courage and wit to catch them out…an estimate I read in the Independent is that the ‘middle class’ are evading up to 7 billion in taxes yet it appears they are still going for the harmless.

  • Davey12

    The idea of tax is to pay for things we need.

    I do not think Jihadist’s on benefits is needed for any reason.

    I see no reason why they need a single penny in taxes as it obvious they have enough if they can fund Jihadists.

    .

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      I need better roads without potholes. Maybe we could have a Road Fund Licence to cover the cost ? Oops it ceased to be hypothecated for roads in 1937

  • In2minds

    I want to name and shame HMRC. Late last year after many letters and
    phone calls a relative had established exactly what to do with their
    tax return, and did it.

    Just days ago they had a letter to say they would be fined for getting
    something wrong. More phone calls followed. They have now been told
    HMRC got it wrong and a letter will come, IN A MONTH, apologising for
    this.

    Broken Britain?

    • Colonel Mustard

      Similar experience. Their standard procedure for dealing with anything appears to be that it gets looked at 30 days after receipt but they cannot confirm receipt and will not acknowledge receipt. Something is broken alright and it seems to be since the idiots in the Labour party thought it a good idea to combine Revenue and Customs, which of course the usual suspects failed to protest about at the time.

      • 2trueblue

        Typical, they do not go after those at the top end because they would not be able to treat them like the rest of us.

  • chforsyth

    “To set this figure in the correct context, the Government has made around £1 billion available to HMRC to tackle avoidance, evasion and fraud to bring in an extra £7 billion by 2014/15.”

    What makes them think there’s an extra £7 billion to be had there? Also, what’s the point, when they add £4 billion just like that to DFID’s budget?

  • Russell

    Isobel, didn’t you notice that the only people ‘named and shamed’ are those who have failed to pay outstanding tax bills over £25,000!!!!!!!

    So if 3 or 4 people pay up, that is the whole cost of the advertising you criticise paid for.
    As someone who has paid tax all his working life, I think it is only fair that hairdressers, plumbers, whoever, pay what they are due to pay.

    • chforsyth

      Yes, but they won’t have paid up as a result of the advertising; it was the result of the existing HMRC procedures, so the cost of the advertising shouldn’t be counted against that.

      Still, it pales by comparison with the Department of Health’s change4life programme, which will no doubt be said to have saved billions.

      • HooksLaw

        250 million over 3 years. Announced by Labour in 2009 and 75 million cancelled from advertising budget by coalition.
        In 3 years the NHS would spend 360 billion.

        I suppose whether its worthwhile is moot. Obesity is a clear problem, how do you solve it? I am not sure you do in a free society except by education.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1296945479 John McClane

      I paid tax all my working life. I was on PAYE. But if I could have avoided it, or evaded it, on the scale that some people seem to do (no names, no pack drill, Margaret Hodges) I would have done.

    • HooksLaw

      Pleased to agree with you. Collecting taxes is a dirty job but someone has to do it and if the cheats paid up we could all pay less.

      • ugly_fish

        If the robber barons who extract this money by threat of force from us would not piss most of it up against the wall, we could all pay less.

  • Cutla

    Pay your “fair share” or we’ll set the angry mob on you! Menacing stuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

    It is a system based on Intimidation and Thuggery….basically a Protection Racket and it is now so blatant

  • Daviejohn

    Your last paragraph sums it up perfectly, always attack an easy target,in this case Joe Public. This Government has lost respectability.

  • AnotherDaveB

    This is the government _paying_ to make the electorate dislike them. Brilliant!

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