Goldman Sachs tax deal faces UK legal challenge

Image caption Goldman Sachs is one of the world's largest investment banks

UK Uncut has begun legal proceedings to force banking giant Goldman Sachs to pay more to the UK tax authorities.

The pressure group requested a judicial review into a decision by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that let the bank off paying interest on its tax bill.

The shortfall, which HMRC told MPs this week was an error, was estimated by the National Audit Office to be £5m to £8m.

However, a whistleblower who worked for HMRC estimated the cost at £20m - a claim that has been rejected by HMRC.

UK Uncut has called for the government to crack down on tax avoidance by large corporations and the super-rich rather than pursue its "unnecessary austerity programme".

Legal firm Leigh Day & Co are taking on the case on a "no win, no fee" basis.

"We wrote to the HMRC in October asking them to quash the deal and reclaim the millions unpaid in taxes from one of the world's richest banks, but received no response," said Richard Stein, human rights partner at the law firm.

"We chased again in November and they claimed they needed more time."

HMRC said in a statement: "Our approach to handling large business settlements to ensure they pay the right amount of tax has been endorsed by the National Audit Office.

"It is wrong to suggest that HMRC officials are too lenient on large businesses. Large businesses pay around 60% cent of total UK tax receipts. We collected a record £468 billion in taxes last year."

HMRC added that it would be inappropriate to comment further on the judicial review issue "until we have had the opportunity to consider and respond to the proceedings once served".

Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

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