Journalist Ian Birrell summarises:

Tax evasion and avoidance has been estimated to cost the Treasury up to £70 billion each year — only slightly less than the total amount being cut from public spending by the Coalition Government. Tax authorities — so ready to crack down on small business owners or the self-employed — indulge the wealthy with ‘sweetheart deals’.

Political Concern

In similar vein to the Motley Fool in January this year, Sam Dunne reports in more detail that a Money Mail investigation finds that some elderly taxpayers are receiving intimidating letters and unexpected bills from HM Revenue & Customs.

On retirement, many pensioners who have had one income all their working life and had all their tax deducted by their employer, are expected to understand allowances, credits and forms couched in unfamiliar terminology.

One such pensioner contacted us. She has a basic state pension, a separate company pension, a widow’s pension and savings accounts. Though all this information is held by HMRC, and all this income is taxed at source, she still has to fill in a return and this year has been asked to pay £139. This would not be regarded as a large sum in government and corporate circles and she will pay it, lacking the knowledge to…

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