A former tax inspector has accused the Inland Revenue of boosting its performance record by "rigging" statistics which are supposed to show how much unpaid tax officials have brought in by countering evasion and avoidance.
Joe Horner, an independent tax adviser, says he has evidence from clients and tax inspectors, that the "compliance" statistics presented annually to Parliament are "deliberately misleading, manipulated and misrepresented".
Mr Horner has challenged the compliance figures in two books and a leaflet, published privately. He says the Inland Revenue has not countered his specific allegations.
Mr Horner left the Inland Revenue in 1968 after 18 years as a tax inspector. Since then he has worked as a tax adviser, both privately and for a firm of accountants. He claims money paid late or voluntarily by taxpayers has been wrongly credited to the compliance statistics and portrayed as money recovered from would-be tax evaders and avoiders.
In his first book, published in October1990, Mr Horner challenged the figure of pounds 741m which the Inland Revenue's annual report for 1987 declared was for "compliance". He said the statistics relating to cases that he knew of were "grotesquely misrepresented".
Mr Horner said the statistics included people who did pay voluntarily and that some people were made to bear an unfair and excessive share of the burden due to the "tyrannical" attitude of some tax officials.
He cited one case which resulted in pounds 44,000 being included in the compliance statistics. But he claimed that pounds 38,000 was tax paid voluntarily, pounds 2,700 was interest paid voluntarily and that pounds 3,300 was a "penalty" which Mr Horner alleged was "extorted by bullying and implicit blackmail".
Mr Horner wrote: "I know that some of my views are shared by some inspectors. One inspector told me that the younger inspectors were given targets of tax they must `win' and that promotion largely depended on results measured in this way. Another told methere were `league tables' showing who had won most tax."
He added: "I have heard that tyranny is necessary to rig the statistics and that statistic-rigging is necessary to keep …