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Government prepares to give HMRC powers to crack down on tax abuse

The Government has set out proposals for new powers to tackle “artificial and abusive” tax avoidance that would enable HM Revenue & Customs to require people to change their tax arrangements.

The Treasury’s first consultation paper on the general anti-avoidance rule, which was announced in the March Budget and published this week, says the powers are designed to counter tax arrangements where the “main purpose or one of the main purposes” is to reduce tax liabilities.

Under the proposals, once those criteria are met, HMRC will be able to require “just and reasonable” adjustments to existing arrangements. It proposes the rule will apply to income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax, fuel tax, National Insurance and stamp duty.

The paper also proposes extending the rule to cover inheritance tax and the bank levy, which the Treasury says is treated in the same way as corporation tax.

If a taxpayer disputes HMRC’s assessment and proposed changes, they can appeal through a tribunal or the courts, which will be able to make their own conclusions.

Treasury exchequer secretary David Gauke says: “The introduction of a GAAR will strengthen our anti-avoidance strategy, complementing the tools that HMRC already has at its disposal and acting as a deterrent to those engaging in artificial and abusive avoidance schemes.”

Axxis Financial Planning director Owen Wintersgill says: “This would enable the Government to crack down on big firms for abusive tax arrangements.”



Former top civil servant calls for industry levy to fund Treasury

Former Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell says the Treasury should consider levying financial services firms to fund its work in the financial sector. Speaking in yesterday’s debate in the Lords on the Financial Services Bill, O’Donnell suggested the civil servants working on financial services regulation for the department should be funded in the same way as […]

Medical specialist IFA offers self-direct junior Isa

A firm specialising in giving advice to medical professionals is setting up a self-direct junior Isa and is also looking to establish a full Isa. Bridgend-based Medical and Professional has white-labelled the Avalon platform to offer the service and is looking to give some of the initial charges received from the junior Isa to charity. […]

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Johnson Fleming set to host webinar on auditing auto-enrolment schemes

With 23 auto-enrolment compliance notices issued by the Pensions Regulator, and an evolving legislative landscape meaning previously compliant schemes may now be in breach of regulation, now is the time to think about auditing your auto-enrolment scheme. Johnson Fleming is hosting a webinar on 9 October at 11:00 on how to audit your scheme to ensure compliance, avoid breaches and fines and overcome data issues.


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