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MPs continue to probe HMRC handling of tax settlements

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The National Audit Office is to ‘examine the reasonableness’ of some of the larger tax settlements reached by HMRC and report in confidence to MPs.

Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO, indicated at yesterday’s meeting of the Commons Public Accounts Committee that his office would seek advice from tax experts to support the further work on tax disputes. It would report to MPs ‘in a private session at some point in the future’.

Margaret Hodge, Chairman of the PAC, told Dave Hartnett that the committee was not going to ‘let matters rest from last week’.

HMRC’s Permanent Secretary for Tax apologised on 12 October for a ‘mistake’ that resulted in no interest being charged on national insurance contributions payable by Goldman Sachs following the failure of an avoidance scheme.

Hodge said yesterday that the Cabinet Secretary had requested a meeting, and the committee would decide after that meeting what ‘further action’ it was going to take.

Hartnett told the PAC that HMRC was ready to talk in confidence and would ‘support the NAO’ in its work. He confirmed that he would write to the committee regarding legal advice received on taxpayer confidentiality.