Wrote this on Facebook today.
This is my take on the Panama Papers. I am a labour councillor currently trying to sort out the affairs of a Clayton pensioner who had his housing benefit stopped in October because HMRC spotted an anomaly in his tax affairs.
Long story short he had ticked a box on “any other income not declared ” as a no. He had declared his Aviva Pension but couldn’t say what his dividend was because it varied according to what Aviva thought correct at any given moment in time. Irrespective of this it was literally pence of a difference and well under any thresholds for tax. I got it sorted and he got a rebate for the inconvenience around Christmas time. Mid February and HMRC Has found another anomaly and again stops his housing benefit. The anomaly this time is payments of £1000 into his account over three months which are “unexplained” . Because of their haste to impose a sanction In the earlier case the tax people ignored the fact that the pensioner was living on fresh air at the time and had to sell his car at below the market rate in order to make ends meet.
So I get more than just a little bit pissed off when I hear of multi millionaires bleating about privacy laws when HMRC is dedicating fifteen times the amount of available resources to combating non existent benefit fraud instead of chasing up forty times the amount of tax evasion.