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Protestors interrupt Hartnett’s speech at Tax Journal conference

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Dave Hartnett’s speech at yesterday’s Tax Journal conference was interrupted by protestors from UK Uncut. Dressed as ‘executives from Vodafone and Goldman Sachs’, the protestors staged a ‘mock thank you’ for Hartnett’s role in settling recent tax disputes.

HMRC’s Permanent Secretary for Tax has admitted that the department wrongly believed that there was a ‘legal impediment’ to charging Goldman interest on unpaid tax. But HMRC and Vodafone have denied that a settlement reached last year saved Vodafone billions of pounds.

‘The UK Uncut protest was good natured and done in a spirit of fun,’ said Chris Jones, Director of Tax Markets at LexisNexis, which publishes Tax Journal.

‘Dave Hartnett did not leave the stage and once the protesters had left the room, Dave continued to make his speech outlining how HMRC tackle corporate tax avoidance.  It is a pity that the protesters had not asked if they could listen to his speech as they may have found more things to agree with than disagree with.’

An HMRC spokesman told Tax Journal: ‘We respect the right to peaceful protest. Dave completed the speech and this protest was completely unnecessary because Dave’s job is to make sure big business pays the right tax. That’s what he does, day in and day out.’