HMRC Errors Led to Billions in Lost Tax 
A report from the Parliament’s official auditors, the National Audit Office (NAO), has revealed that tax officials failed to follow their own strict rules whilst negotiating deals, which allowed corporations to withhold billions of pounds in tax.

The report was ordered after the public accounts committee questioned the way Goldman Sachs was let off up to £20 million in tax on a handshake with the permanent secretary for tax, Dave Hartnett.

Within their report, the NAO have said that HMRC did not seek proper legal advice, involve its own specialists or even take notes whilst negotiating settlements with large companies.

However, despite these findings, the NAO concluded that five negotiated settlements, which were the subject of the report, were “reasonable” and fair to the public purse.

Although the NAO have concluded that the five negotiated settlements were “reasonable” and fair to the public purse, the chair of the public accounts committee, Margaret Hodge, claims that questions still remain over why officials bypassed the proper processes.

She said: “With billions of pounds of tax at stake it is extremely worrying that the department failed to involve its own specialists in the final negotiations and follow its own rules by settling for less than it could have won in litigation.

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