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Govt pushes ahead with plans to name and shame serial tax avoiders

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The Government has decided to roll out plans to name and shame serial users of tax avoidance schemes despite concerns the power is unfair and disproportionate.

In a consultation paper published in July, the Government set out a raft of proposals aimed at tackling those who “persist in engaging in tax avoidance”.

One of the measures suggested was to publish the names of the most persistent users of tax avoidance schemes where HM Revenue & Customs has challenged the use of the scheme and won.

The Government said serial avoiders would be defined as those who had entered into three or more tax avoidance schemes during a five-year “warning period”, which are later defeated by HMRC.

In a response document published today, the Government says “only a minority of respondents believed that public naming of the most persistent users of tax avoidance schemes that HMRC defeats would be a fair and effective deterrent.”

Respondents raised concerns that naming those who used tax avoidance schemes suggested they had carried out illicit behaviour, even if they believed they had acted within the law.

Others suggested there should be some form of tribunal approval before names are published, or that there should be a right of appeal against a decision to name and shame.

But the Government has rejected both these submissions.

In the response paper, the Government says: “The Government notes these views. It believes the potential naming of serial avoiders will be a useful tool to counter serial avoidance.

“The Government believes neither a right of appeal against a decision to name nor a requirement for a tribunal to approve naming would be appropriate.

“However, HMRC should advise any taxpayer if they are considering publishing that person’s details and give a suitable time for the taxpayer to make any representations as to why their details should not be published. Once a person’s details are published by HMRC, they will be removed from publication after 12 months.”

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Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Great. Meanwhile the FSCS is pushing ahead with plans to compensate would-be serial tax avoiders at our expense. Some mistake there surely?

  2. Unbelievable! How about fine and jail as opposed to name and shame? This is just the usual rhetoric and political spin from a tax man who wants to make noise. Business and other lobbyist groups will prosper and the poor will pick up the tab, rock on Tory policy.

  3. I know they need to try something but what a waste of time and effort. Do they seriously think that anyone who is a serial offender is going give a toss about being named in public domain? Those who know these people will think they have done a brilliant job in getting away with it for so long and those who don’t know them won’t care less. It is difficult one… Oh heres an idea, dang them up in prison for 5 years or more and fine them the annual average of the amount they should have paid to cover lost revenue while they are in the slammer and recoup some of the costs of keeping them in the klink. While they are at it, lock up the advisers/accountants who sorted out the sweet deals on a regular basis too. Make others in the same situation think twice about doing again

  4. oops… bang them up in prison, not dang. Apologies

  5. I wonder if HMRC will name and shame any MP’s?

  6. Hey! Hey! Have you all forgotten Tax Avoidance is legal and indeed many of us have earned a living helping our clients to do this. Indeed if tax can be avoided only a fool wouldn’t do it if they knew how.

    Tax EVASION is something quite different. I wouldn’t expect the numpties in Westminster to understand the difference and wouldn’t be surprised if they made avoiding cereals an offence. But you guys – IFAs – should know the difference.

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