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Volume 165: debated on Wednesday 17 January 1990

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much money was spent by the Inland Revenue on legal fees in connection with cases in the High Court for the recovery of tax revenues in each of the last five years in respect of (a) successful cases, (b) unsuccessful cases and (c) in total; whether the unsuccessful cases have been reviewed in each year by the Inland Revenue with a view to promoting legislation to avoid further loss of revenue; and whether he has identified the extent of tax evasion and avoidance which is taking place through the creation of business transactions carried out solely or mainly for tax reasons by United Kingdom based trusts, companies and individuals and trusts, companies and individuals based in (a) Jersey, (b) the Isle of Man, (c) Guernsey, (d) the Netherlands Antilles, (e) the Cayman Islands and (f) Liechtenstein.

The amounts spent on legal fees for High Court cases could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The outcome of each case is reviewed for its legal implications. Because of their nature it is not possible to estimate reliably the extent of tax evasion or avoidance.