All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 ITR is part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC group.

Goldman Sachs’ HMRC tax deal to face judicial review


Tax avoidance campaign group, UK Uncut Legal Action, has been given permission to challenge the conclusion of a tax dispute between Goldman Sachs and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that the campaigners allege cost the UK millions of pounds.

A High Court judge ruled the group had “an arguable case” that should go to a full judicial review hearing after its lawyers claimed HMRC failed to carry out its legal duty to renegotiate a deal with the bank after it emerged the government had a mistake in the original talks.

This news came a day before the National Audit Office (NAO) released a report stating that taxpayers are at risk of not getting the best deal when it comes to negotiating a tax settlement with HMRC, highlighting flaws in the tax authority’s governance procedures.

Concerns were raised last year by a HMRC whistleblower about a settlement made by the tax authorities with Goldman Sachs over a tax avoidance scheme used by the bank to pay its staff.

The Comptroller & Auditor General, the head of the National Audit Office, which scrutinises public spending on behalf of Parliament, told a parliamentary committee that a mistake in the calculation of the interest bill, which HMRC has admitted to, resulted in a loss of £8 million ($12 million) for the exchequer.

However, a whistleblower told the committee that the interest due on the settlement could have been up to £20 million.

UK Uncut Legal Action has accused HMRC officials of giving the bank a favourable deal. The group claim these accusations can be backed up by HMRC’s internal minutes from December 2010 which showed the involvement of Dave Hartnett (pictured below), permanent secretary for tax at HMRC, in the agreement which allowed the bank to repay only the amount owed.


UK Uncut will now be allowed to bring a full hearing for judicial review of the agreement and could lead to HMRC disclosing internal and confidential documents about the settlement.

Murray Worthy, director of UK Uncut Legal Action said: "There is overwhelming public support from unions, NGOs, MPs and thousands of ordinary people who want to see this dodgy tax deal challenged in the courts. It shows the deep level of outrage that people feel over state sanctioned tax dodging by big business, while the government destroys public services that ordinary people rely on, saying that there is no money.”


More from across our site

The state secretary told the French press that the country continues to oppose pillar two’s global minimum tax rate following an Ecofin meeting last week.
This week the Biden administration has run into opposition over a proposal for a federal gas tax holiday, while the European Parliament has approved a plan for an EU carbon border mechanism.
Businesses need to improve on data management to ensure tax departments become much more integrated, according to Microsoft’s chief digital officer at a KPMG event.
Businesses must ensure any alternative benchmark rate is included in their TP studies and approved by tax authorities, as Libor for the US ends in exactly a year.
Tax directors warn that a lack of adequate planning for VAT rule changes could leave businesses exposed to regulatory errors and costly fines.
Tax professionals have urged suppliers of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland to pause any plans to restructure their supply chains following the NI Protocol Bill.
Tax leaders say communication with peers is important for risk management, especially on how to approach regional authorities.
Advances in compliance tools in international markets and the digitalisation of global tax administrations are increasing in-house demand for technologists.
The US fast-food company has agreed to pay €1.25 billion to settle the French investigation into its transfer pricing arrangements over allegations of tax evasion.
HM Revenue and Customs said the UK pillar two legislation will be delayed until at least December 2023, while ITR reported on a secret Netflix settlement and an IMF study on VAT cuts.
We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree