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This programme looks at two different kinds of offence - income tax evasion and supplementary benefit fraud. Although it would appear from the annual reports of the Department of Health and Social ...Security and the Board of Inland Revenue that the number of known cases of tax evasion is at least as high as the number of cases of social security fraud, what happens to the two types of offender is very different. Public prosecution almost inevitably follows the detection of supplementary benefit fraud, whereas the tax evader is most likely to be asked to settle his business in private with the tax officer and many millions of pounds are written off annually as irrecoverable tax debts. Is this a case of one law for the rich and another for the poor? The programme is made up of a number of interviews with people who have a personal knowledge of the workings of the two systems of justice. Tony Christopher, Joint General Secretary of the Inland Revenue Staff Federation, puts the case for a more strict application of the law in the case of tax offenders. Halmer Hudson, a Chartered Accountant, argues that taxation is not a moral issue and that the main interest of the Board of the Inland Revenue should be the collection of revenue, not prosecution. Henry Hodge, Solicitor for the Child Poverty Action Group, talks of the circumstances which can lead people to defraud the Department of Health and Social Security and the public attitudes towards welfare claimants. The programme also includes accounts of tax evasion on the 'lump' and prosecution for benefit fraud.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: D302, Patterns of inequality
Item code: D302; 04
First transmission date: 06-04-1976
Published: 1976
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:23:28
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Producer: Claire Falkner
Contributors: Tony Christopher; Chris Hamnett; Halmer Hudson; Henry Hodge
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Inequality; Social security benefits; Taxation
Footage description: Hamnett introduces the programme and gives some figures in graph form of the sums of money involved and the prosecution rates for tax evasion and benefit fraud. Tony Christopher, from the Inland Revenue Staff Federation, looks at the Revenue's attitude and how the tax system relies on honesty. Hamnett interviews a building worker who explains how the 'lump' system of avoiding tax works. Christopher comments on the effort expended in avoiding tax. Hudson, an accountant, looks at his role and why the Revenue likes to settle cases of evasion out of court. He explains why he thinks more people are evading tax. Hodge, a solicitor, contrasts the attitudes revealed by the treatment of tax evasion and benefit fraud. A woman describes her experience over a benefits fraud and why she feels her treatment was harsh. Hodge explains the attitudes behind the DHSS deterrent policy of prosecutions. Christopher concludes by comparing the attitudes shown towards the Revenue and the DHSS. Credits.
Master spool number: 6HT/72071
Production number: 00525_2279
Videofinder number: 184
Available to public: no