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This week's opinion

18 July 2018
Issue: 4656 / Categories: Comment & Analysis

Unacceptable views of some advisers

Among the many statistical reports published last week on HMRC’s work was a survey of public attitudes to the department. The finding that stood out for me was the response to the question ‘Is tax evasion ever acceptable?’ Fully 79% of individuals said it was never acceptable with the rest saying it was sometimes or always acceptable or did not have a view. For small businesses the ‘never acceptable’ score was 90%. But what about agents? Surely the answer is so obvious it was not worth asking. No agent could ever condone evasion. Well the ‘never acceptable’ score for agents was 92% – only two points higher than for small businesses. Some 6% said it was acceptable in some circumstances and astonishingly 1% said it was always acceptable. Unbelievably 1% did not know the answer. Even if there is some margin for error in these...

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