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Revenue Sipp swoop in fraud investigation

IFAs and Sipp operators are among 11 people arrested in relation to a suspected £2.5m tax relief fraud involving bogus pension schemes.

The individuals were arrested after raids in the North-west and Midlands and have been bailed until September. Fourteen premises were searched, including homes in Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Cumbria. Documents, paperwork, mobile phones and computers were seized.

HM Revenue & Customs officers have been investigating the suspected fraudulent use of tax relief repayments linked to pension schemes marketed by a number of UK financial firms.

The case involves the suspec-ted fraudulent reclamation of income tax relief on pension contributions contrary to the pension tax rules under Part 4 of the Finance Act 2004.

HMRC assistant director criminal investigations North West Mike O’Grady says: “This is an unusual investigation into what we believe to be an organised attack on tax relief available on self-invested pension schemes.

“We do not expect to know the full scale of this suspected fraud until we have assessed all the evidence collected.”

FSA small firms division head of investments Linda Woodall says: “We are monitoring the financial firms involved and will take action if it is appropriate to do so within our remit.”

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