Now that the initial fuss has died down, what is the likely outcome of these revelations?
So far it seems that politicians have fared the worst. Did the Icelandic Prime Minister resign or did he just step aside, whatever that means? HMRC have applied for a look-see. They have even issued an announcement.
They have said:
“HMRC can confirm that we have already received a great deal of information on offshore companies, including in Panama, from a wide range of sources, which is currently the subject of intensive investigation. We have asked the ICIJ to share the leaked data that they have obtained with us. We will closely examine this data and will act on it swiftly and appropriately.”
Is it the case that they will discover wrongdoing, or, will they simply discover ever more ingenious ways to reduce corporate tax and schemes to help maintain asset values?
Until there is a contract between taxpayers and government that links tax with social responsibility (and how likely is that?) surely it should come as no surprise when ingenious minds turn to tax mitigation, or more boldly, tax avoidance. This in turn is countered by complex anti-avoidance legislation, and so the game continues.
What will be the likely outcomes? Will we ever find out? Or will the added data simply chase existing data in HMRC’s ever more sophisticated data mining software, waiting for someone bright enough to add one and one and reach the heady conclusion that it equals two.