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HMRC did not act on £1m of Gift Aid claimed wrongly ‘in order to avoid embarrassment’

New revelations by Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, come from the former senior Charity Commission caseworker David Orbison

HM Revenue & Customs did not pursue a charity that had wrongly claimed £1m in Gift Aid because it would have been "too embarrassing", according to information provided to the Public Accounts Committee.

Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking and chair of the committee, said at a meeting of the committee in parliament yesterday that she had received information from David Orbison, a former senior caseworker at the Charity Commission, about two cases in which HMRC had failed to pursue charities that owed tax.

In one case, involving a healthcare charity called Odyssey Tendercare, it is alleged that £1m was claimed in tax relief despite little charitable activity taking place, Hodge told the meeting. 

Hodge quoted to the committee a submission from Orbison that said: "When my colleagues pointed out that there had been no charitable activity, the HMRC contact burst out laughing but said he would not take it up because it had been sanctioned by his boss and it would be too embarrassing for HMRC."


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