Barrister criticises HMRC over ‘unpredictable’ tax U-turns

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has come under fire this week from a prominent barrister, who has criticised the taxman’s ‘unpredictable’ U-turns in tax rules as ‘arbitrary’ and ‘unfair’.

Lord Carlile QC said that a number of ‘unfair’ tax laws had been taking their toll on British investments, pointing toward a number of cases where tax U-turns had hit investors hard.

“Wealthy and successful people are choosing elsewhere to invest their money, and elsewhere to live,” said Lord Carlile.

“Individuals have found themselves paying far more tax than expected, as a result of unheralded and unexpected changes of heart by HMRC.

“The consequences are bad for the affected taxpayers, bad for the Revenue, and bad for Britain.

“This is inconsistent with the reasonable ambition that the UK should be a desirable location for global business, and for personal wealth properly earned.”

Lord Carlile did not quote any names directly, but referred to cases highlighted in the press of late.

The Barrister also claimed that funding for British films was among the victims of ‘arbitrary’ reversals in tax rules.

“To retain wealth within the UK and lessen the temptation for taxpayers to move abroad, Government should intervene to leave business people with a lesser sense of being victims of an overbearing and unsympathetic revenue service,” he said.