With the fall out from the Panama Papers leak still snowballing, politicians resigning and calls for others to take more of a governing role of British Virgin Islands tax havens, one aspect has been largely overlooked. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the UK tax office, currently rents its headquarters from a company that is owned and operated overseas, thereby avoiding UK tax.
It’s not clear who is behind the CIHL Holdings, the company that owns the building HMRC rents for its headquarters, but it’s far from the only offshore firm that HMRC pays out to. Campaigner Joel Benjamin unearthed some information from ex HMRC tax inspector, journalist and author, Richard Brooks, who claimed in his book, the Great Tax robbery, that several government offices were owned by offshore firms.
— Joel Benjamin (@Gian_TCatt) April 4, 2016
HMRC and 600 of its tax offices were (at the time of publishing the book: 2013) owned by Mapeley Steps Ltd, a Bermuda based company. The HM Treasury and HMRC Head Office were leased through CIHL Holdings, based in Jersey and the Home Office headquarters was owned by HICL Infrastructure, a company based out of Guernsey – another tax haven.
Perhaps this is the reason that the HMRC’s own head claimed to not be a tax expert and gave Google such an easy time with its estimated £2 billion+ dodged tax bill.
There is mounting evidence to suggest that despite hosting an anti-corruption conference in just over a month’s time, the British government facilitates massive tax avoidance and evasion around the world through its offshore territories. As more information comes out of the leak, we may see increased pressure on current politicians and ministers to ac in some cases even vacate their positions within the government.
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KitGuru Says: The Icelandic Prime Minister could be just the first head to roll on this one. We haven’t even gotten started trawling through all the leak data yet.