Millions of TV viewers tuned in to hear the specialist views from the partners of a fledgling Harrogate company.
When Sky TV were looking for comment about HMRC practices they turned to the expertise of The Independent Tax and Forensic Services LLP for an insight into the organisation’s inner workings.
The company’s founding partners Stephen Outhwaite and Gary Brothers both worked for HMRC at senior levels in the Yorkshire region, before working for companies offering firms and individuals tax advice.
Mr Outhwaite was beamed live into homes and businesses around the world when he was asked to comment about claims by the House of Commons Finance Select Committee that his former employer had no appetite when it came to chasing big businesses for unpaid tax.
Instead, the MP’s said HMRC focused its attentions on collecting far lesser amounts of unpaid tax from small businesses.
Mr Outhwaite said: Often, the little man is seen as an easy target, with inspectors shying away from cases that are more difficult to prosecute.
Despite the Government’s stated aim of clamping down on tax avoidance and closing the tax gap – the theoretical amount of tax not collected annually – the tax gap is actually widening.
By selecting cases in this way, HMRC is just compounding the issue. Chasing unpaid tax from smaller businesses to give inspectors an easier time will produce results, but nothing like the results from larger firms and multinationals.
The so called ‘aggressive’ tax avoidance from certain companies is difficult, but not impossible to deal with, and the HMRC should be increasing efforts to that end. It is the only way this figure of £35 billion a year will be recovered.
As a fledgling business it was a real coup for us to be asked to comment upon a story of national significance, and reinforces to me how far we have come at Independent Tax in such a short space of time.”
Independent Tax was launched in April and has already secured an impressive list of clients – including a number of household names.
It is expanding rapidly, already recruiting new team members and has already become one of the most respected tax dispute practices in the country.
Although based in the North of England with offices in Harrogate and Hull, Independent Tax offers clients national coverage.
Photograph show In-Tax Experts: Gary Brothers (left) and Stephen Outhwaite