A consultation document to counter the continued marketing and use of high risk tax avoidance schemes was published by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) today.
The document – “High Risk Tax Avoidance Schemes” – proposes to “list” tax avoidance schemes that are unlikely to deliver the tax savings claimed. Taxpayers who use these schemes currently benefit from deferring the disputed tax payment until HMRC has completed an investigation.
The proposals outlined in the document would require users of a listed scheme to disclose the scheme to HMRC. They would also be subject to an additional charge on underpaid tax. Taxpayers would be able to protect themselves from the additional charge by paying tax in dispute up-front.
David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said:
“These are highly aggressive and artificial tax avoidance schemes which we want to stop. For too long, wealthy taxpayers were using these schemes as a cheap loan from government. Our proposals would stop this practice, reducing the cost of HMRC’s interventions and ensuring a fairer tax system.
“We really want to hear the views of tax advisers and professional bodies.”
Notes for editors
1. The proposals were announced at Budget 2011. Also at Budget, the Government published Tackling Tax Avoidance which sets out the Government’s strategic approach to avoidance.
2. The consultation can be found at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/consultations.
3. The consultation will run from 31 May 2011 to 31 August 2011.
Responses should be sent via e-mail to Philippa.Staples@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk or
100 Parliament Street
4. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk.
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
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