Criteria for Being Named and Shamed by HMRC

Essentially if you “deliberately” evade £25k or more tax, then you will be outed by HMRC. Though the term “deliberately” shouldn’t be used figuratively. HMRC have deemed that “If a person does not take reasonable care to get their tax right, or does not have a reasonable excuse, they can be penalised.”

The taxpayer themselves are the only people who really know whether the discrepancy on tax was deliberate or not surely? What HMRC have deemed to be “deliberate” could also just be “careless”. I understand why HMRC may want to take this tactic as it is a psychological trick to scare current evaders or anyone thinking of doing so. It is a good deterrent, as nobody wants to be named and shamed in this way. Though honest mistakes can be made. In this case would it be fair to name and shame them?

HMRC have also said that they promise to lower a penalty and provide anonymity to people who co-operate fully with the enquiry and settle their tax bill. Suppose HMRC deem this as their way of avoiding naming and shaming anyone making an honest mistake.

Though is it right that the business or personal addresses are published? This is an invasion of privacy, surely? Though HMRC will only picture someone if they are included on the taxman’s most wanted list (Britain’s most notorious tax offenders).

By:Jane Hailstone

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