Dave Hartnett: Tax Supremo, Imbecile or Bent?
Massive corporations employ the brightest brains to minimise the amount they pay in taxes. There are occasions when the use of such clever clogs is unnecessary. All that is apparently needed to save millions is to wine and dine the head of Tax at HM Revenue.
Goldman Sachs, that byword for poverty, are one of Mr Hartnett’s beneficiaries. In a remarkable appearance before an irate Public Accounts Committee, Mr Hartnett insisted client confidentiality precluded him from giving the details of an arrangement he had struck with Goldman Sachs which had saved the poor financiers between 10 and 25 million.
This follows another deal with Vodaphone who were allowed to pay £450m of its tax bill over five years - a process usually allowed for ‘troubled businesses.’ With its £7bn plus annual dividend payouts, Vodaphone could hardly be called ‘troubled.’
As there are £25bn of disputed taxes with big companies it is more than worrying to have such a plonker as Hartnett in charge of retrieving this money. At a time of national financial crisis £25bn would go quite a long way to ease the pain.
The Committee Chair, Margaret Hodge, angrily noted that Hartnett was, “The guy who does the deals and the guy who is on the board who vets the deals. There is nobody checking that the deals you do represent good value for money. This is an outrageously unprecedented situation for me.” Private Eye 26/10/11 Another committee member, Richard Bacon, was angry that “extremely rich, extremely highly paid people paid less tax on their bankers’ bonuses as a result of the way the case was mishandled.” Ibid
Hartnett is one of several public officials who cost the country and therefore us taxpayers billions through their incompetence. Anyone want to buy two aircraft carriers without any planes....? Or how about the colossal sums spent on IT, none of which have worked? Or the business-friendly contracts worked out under the abominable PFI scheme?
Call it crap, call it incompetence but don’t call it corruption. That only happens in third world countries doesn’t it?