Data quality issues hit the ONS

Accountants may be interested to know that it’s not only HMRC that suffers from data quality issues.

The ONS has had to hold back publication of a paper on Productivity Measures in quarter 4 last year so that it can carry out additional quality assurance prior to publication.

HMRC has had more than its fair share of data quality problems over the past 12 months. The PAYE crisis led to around 15 million people paying the wrong amount of tax. As a result £3 billion was overpaid and a further £2 billion underpaid. The Revenue is still trying to put that problem right and measures are being taken to ensure a similar situation does not occur in the future.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank has gone into battle with the Revenue over the payment of payroll taxes on bankers’ bonuses. An HMRC tax tribunal recently ruled that the German owned bank owed taxes on bonuses amounting to £92 million.

Deutsche Bank set up a complex tax avoidance scheme that involved using an offshore trust so that it did not need to pay National Insurance Contributions and income tax. The Judge presiding over the tribunal said the scheme was created solely for the purposes of tax avoidance.

Rather than receive cash bonuses, the Deutsche bankers pooled their bonuses into a £92 million pot. That money was then invested in a Cayman Islands registered company called Dark Blue Investment. The bankers then received shares in Dark Blue. Although this was not illegal, the tribunal found the bank was operating in a grey legal area.

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