HMRC 'blocks celebrity tax avoiders from the honours list'
Review considers risk rating of possible recipients
A Freedom of Information request by The Times has uncovered a traffic light system used by HMRC to analyse a nominee’s suitability for an honour and determine the risk of them being exposed over their tax affairs.
Green indicates a low risk, with amber for medium risk individuals whose tax affairs would be “likely to cause adverse comment” and red for high risk.
The list is then sent back to the Cabinet Office honours committee and prime minister via secure email.
A document seen by the Times, which sets out an agreement between the Cabinet Office and HMRC, says: “Trust would likely be lost if an honour was awarded to someone with negative tax behaviours and those behaviours became linked to the positive recognition that accompanies the award of an honour.”
A government spokeswoman added: “As a matter of longstanding policy, in order to protect the integrity of the system, government departments which may have an interest in a particular nomination - including HMRC - are invited to contribute their views during this process."
The honours list is announced twice a year, and anybody can nominate someone living in the UK they think to be deserving of an honour.
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