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.