HMRC or Russian KGB?

Fri, 31/08/2012 - 06:00
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By Stephen Crampton
HM Revenue & Customs has launched a new school module for teachers of teenage children in the UK, which some argue promotes the idea of children “spying” in their community for tax dodgers.

The new module is part of Tax Matters, a series of education modules developed by the revenue aimed at helping children understand the uses of and reasons why people pay tax.

Included within the series, which is aimed at key stage 4 or GCSE level children, is one module called “The tax responsibilities of a good citizen”. The module looks at why citizens of a country pay tax and why this is beneficial for the society in which they live.

However, while this may seem a reasonable enough subject for 15 and 16 year old children, some have taken issue with one of the final tasks within the module’s lesson plan which looks at those who do not pay tax and asks children if they “can think of any examples they may have heard of in their local area” of people not paying tax.

In its weekly tax update accounting and tax specialist Baker Tilly likened the idea to something inspired by the Russian KGB.
“In the Soviet era, children were recruited to inform on their parents.

While we support HMRC in its reasonable efforts to manage the tax system, recruiting children in to a Stasi-style venture might, we suggest, be going a little too far.”


To view a copy of the module and lesson plan, click here

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