Letter in The Guardian, 6 April 2016:
Vicky Ranson of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs wants access to the Guardian’s Panama data (UK tax officials seek access to huge leak of Mossack Fonseca papers, theguardian.com, 4 April) because HMRC is “relentlessly pursuing tax evasion by UK citizens and residents” and wants “to ensure that tax cheats have no safe havens in which to hide undeclared income”. I’m puzzled. Page 223 of the latest Office for Budget Responsibility report, published in March, says: “HMRC is also now less optimistic about how much of the lost yield can be recouped through additional compliance activity, on the basis that they are unlikely to be able to work the higher number of additional cases on top of existing workloads.” They can’t manage their existing workload of tax dodgers. Why, apart from a cheap publicity stunt, are they pretending to be interested in Panama?
Hat tip to Richard Murphy.