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Schedule 46

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 23rd June 2009.

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Photo of John Howell John Howell Conservative, Henley 12:00 pm, 23rd June 2009

The guidance notes on the schedule are extremely revealing. They state that there was previously no requirement on anyone within a qualifying company to ensure that the underlying tax accounting arrangements were fit for purpose. They go on to say that this measure addresses the accountability gap. There is a huge gap between the logic of those two statements, so it would be good to have clarification on that.

There could be a situation in which a number of different people were responsible for this in a company. The fact that more than one person was involved would not equate to a gap. A gap is an absence of something, and we are yet to hear that there is the real gap to which the guidance notes refer.

The Minister referred to the risk-based approach of HMRC on this matter. I have a point that follows on from the remarks made by my hon. Friend the Member for Fareham about understanding where the detail of the schedule came from. I get the feeling that it emerged out of HMRC’s risk framework document. I have put together risk framework documents in the public sector, so I know that one must identify all possible risks that might occur. It would be extremely useful to know where this risk occurs in the HMRC risk framework and what weighting it was given before a conclusion was reached. Our concern comes from the guidance note in paragraph 58.