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Left hand, right hand

Mar 5, 2008, 09:24 AM
Authors : Richard
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Post date : Mar 5, 2008, 09:24 AM
HMRC has recently coughed up £100,000 for the details of people holding bank accounts in Liechtenstein.
What seems strange to me is that while the right hand struggles to recoup tax on investment property that it believes UK taxpayers are holding in undeclared offshore funds, the Government’s left hand appears to be actively conniving with other taxpayers in the transfer of property offshore.
In addition to HMRC’s own offices being transferred to the Bermuda few years ago as reported in Taxation, The Guardian reports that the new Home Office and the refurbished headquarters of HM Treasury are now also substantially owned offshore.
The fiasco with HMRC’s properties a few years ago led to a ban on deals with companies using tax havens.
In a move presumably unforeseen by those in power, a ‘genius’ in the private sector has come up with the wheeze of having a UK company do the deal with the Government, only for it then to transfer a share of the ownership offshore: to the Channel Islands in the latest cases.
Although The Guardian describes thas as 'a more sophisticated way of avoiding tax', it seems to me that this ain’t exactly rocket science and one would have thought that it might have been possible to have a contractual condition or covenant on the properties to prevent such deals subsequently.
That would obviously be too easy, and no doubt I am overlooking something here.

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