15:32 PM, 29th March 2012, About 10 years ago 1
Tax inspectors are obviously finding tax too taxing, despite HM Revenue & Customs claims to the contrary over recent years, as hundreds are due to go back to the classroom for extra lessons.
HMRC says the aim is to make staff more professional and to help them handle difficult investigations better when they line up against top-gun lawyers and accountants employed by big business.
HMRC has faced criticism for backing down and letting global corporations off tax while pursuing ‘little men’ to the nth degree.
The move comes as former permanent secretary Dave Hartnett is stepping down after making a £10 million tax error in favour of crisis bank Goldman Sachs.
He was also lambasted for letting Vodafone off around £4.75 billion in tax, while two more companies are suspected to have gained millions in tax advantages from written-off bills, but their transgressions are protected by confidentiality agreements.
The new tax academy is for graduate entrants and offers two accredited degrees from Manchester Metropolitan University backed by the Association of Accounting Technicians.
The academy will offer training to HMRC staff across the UK. Students will have to pass exams and practical assessments, with on-the-job learning contributing is seen as an important part of the degree.
More than 200 tax staff are already studying for a degree, with numbers expected to double next year as recruitment steps up.
The focus is training and development for tax inspectors carrying out investigations to combat tax avoidance, evasion and fraud.
“We know we have great people doing great work that deserves to be recognised. We want to be seen as a leader in tax, both in the UK and internationally, and the launch of the tax academy is a really important step towards that goal,” said Hartnett.
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