Labour proposals call for HMRC overhaul

“Large companies” should publish their tax returns and whistle-blowers who expose financial wrongdoing must have protection under the law, the Labour party has said.

In a Labour-commissioned report, the party has set out its proposals for the future of the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), calling for crack downs on tax avoidance, more staff and resources, whistle-blower protection and a supervisory board at the top of HMRC’s priorities.

Published by the Labour Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell, the report responds to a growing concern about repeated failures by HMRC to crack down on tax avoidance by multinationals and wealthy individuals

He said that HMRC was now in “disarray” due to more than 11,000 staff cuts since 2010.

“With the appropriate levels of investment, we think we could achieve a fair and just taxation system, which would overcome some of the issues we now have for investment in our public services”, he said.

The report also recommends an independent supervisory board for HMRC, consisting of stakeholders appointed by Mr McDonnell. The report claims that the current board is “dominated” by individuals previously connected with major corporations and large firms known for marketing avoidance schemes.

Prem Sikka, leader of the Labour panel’s report, proposed that “all large companies” should make their tax returns public by filing them alongside their annual accounts, which would be free to access online thought the Companies House database.

“For 100 years we have been publishing company accounts. Tax information is an important part of corporate governance. We feel this information should be publicly available”, said Mr Sikka.

The report details the official labour proposals expected to be presented in spring 2017 for the upcoming general election.