We’re fans of the Private Eye in the office; its tendance towards genteel and refined language belies its cut-to-the-quick attitude on many interesting topics that the mainstream press seemingly doesn’t consider itself fit to cover. Opening this week’s Eye (1291), I was greeted with this latest chestnut demonstrating how the Revenue has imposed a humongous tax bill upon the Wirral Resource childrens’ charity as a result of an error stemming from the early 90s:
GOOD to see that HM Revenue & Customs knows who the real tax-dodging villains are in Britain. Having let Vodafone and Goldman Sachs off millions in tax (Eyes passim), it’s been commendably ruthless with… a small charity for disabled children. Wirral Resource Centre in Birkenhead provides physiotherapy and play therapy for around 90 children with special needs, as well as lending toys and equipment to families. Now the charity has been whacked with a £16,000 tax bill, dating from an accounting error made in the early 1990s when the centre was run by completely different people. The charity has been given a year to find the cash, which will eat up the proceeds of dozens of the raffles, sponsored walks and coffee mornings that usually keep the service afloat. “This has put a great strain on the centre,” says the charity. “We are having to scale down our staffing structure because of this, so staff will be made redundant. We are in desperate need of funds.” Well done HMRC!
— Private Eye 1291, p3 Upon visiting the Wirral Resource home page, you are greeted with this plaintive message:
The Resource Centre is currently experiencing cash flow problems. This has been caused by a Tax bill that has to be repaid, the error was made in the 1990’s and has subsequently been brought to our attention last year, we have a year to pay this back. This has put a great strain on the Centre. We are having to scale down our staffing structure because of this, so staff will be made redundant. We are in desperate need of funds now, the Centre relies heavily on Donations and would like to reach out to everyone who could be willing to help at this very difficult time. If you know of any fund raising ideas or help us in any way we would be most grateful. Please email or ring the centre Wirralresource@btconnect.com 0151 608 8288
How the Revenue can justify allowing large corporations to avoid hundreds of millions in tax revenues whilst imposing a £16,000 bill upon a specialist charity providing physiotherapy for children with special needs – for an error dating when the current staff weren’t even running the charity – is beyond us. To read the full In the Back section containing even more disgraceful news concerning the Revenue, the current government and Deloitte’s tax avoidance tactics, head over to the Eye’s web site (until the 7th of July) or pick up a copy from your newsagent’s shelves (£1.50 well spent).