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A Tax Rebate that will make the nation cough
At last, the election campaign for 2017 is over! ‘The Fat Lady’ has finished her song – no disrespect to Mrs M, but the government of the day faces a ‘huge but little-known problem’ says Felicity Lawrence of The Guardian. A large number of multinationals, from British American Tobacco to BP and Tata Steel are suing HM Revenue and Customs over tax bills stretching back to the 1970s, and after a decade and a half of legal battles, HMRC is close to accepting defeat. It thinks that it may have to repay big business a staggering £55bn in taxes-nearly half the NHS’s annual budget. Few outside a ‘handful of specialist law and accountancy firms’ grasp this issue in detail. But essentially, HMRC imposed a series of tax rules on UK firms with subsidiaries or parent companies elsewhere in Europe, which were later judged contrary to EU law; for instance, that dividends received by UK corporations from European subsidiaries are subject to corporation tax. Now these companies want their taxes back – money that was spent long ago – with interest. No one doubts the skill of the lawyers, but these cases will leave a strong sense ‘that the smart people with the money’ can ‘magic up’ ways to make more money ‘while leaving the rest of us poorer’. Is this a case of supporting the American heiress Barbara Hutton when she publicly stated “only little people pay tax.” And another question, why have previous governments reduced the staffing of the HMRC? Perhaps the government of the day, together with ourselves should take more notice of the statement made by the Lord Jesus Christ recorded in Matthew’s Gospel 22:21 ‘Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s’, in response to the question posed by the Jews at the time.