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Treasury eyes adviser role in tax avoidance crackdown

Treasury 480

The Treasury may extend misselling rules to target advisers who market aggressive tax avoidance schemes under plans to crackdown on the schemes to be unveiled later today.

The Financial Times reports another idea being floated is a requirement that companies promoting abusive schemes hand over their client lists.

A consultation paper is to be launched today which aims to expose the extent of tax avoidance schemes.

At a speech to think tank Policy Exchange later, exchequer secretary David Gauke will say aggressive tax planning makes it more difficult to fund public servies, damages confidence and forces other taxpayers to pay more.

The FT says the crackdown is focused on about 20 promoters that design aggressive schemes, mainly used by men earning over £100,000.

HM Revenue & Customs told the newspaper using misselling rules to clamp down on aggressive tax avoidance schemes was “an interesting suggestion that it would like to explore further”.

Chartered Institute of Taxation president Patrick Stevens suggested the idea last month. He argues tackling “pushy salesmen persuading people to buy schemes that are probably too good to be true” would eventually the tax system being treated with more respect.

The issue of tax avoidance schemes has hit the headlines recently after a tax tribunal ruled in April that film partnership Eclipse 35 was an aggressive avoidance scheme. Celebrities and high profile industry figures including Sir Alex Ferguson, Sven Goran Eriksson, Towry chief executive Andrew Fisher and outgoing F&C Asset Management chief executive Alain Grisay invested in Eclipse partnerships.

HMRC is also investigating a scheme called K2. A special investigation by The Times claimed comedian Jimmy Carr had sheltered £3.3m a year through the scheme.

Delivering the Budget in March, Chancellor George Osborne called tax avoidance “morally repugnant”.


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There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Is this the same David Gauke MP who until elected in 2005 worked for leading City law firm Macfarlanes who specialise, amongst other things, “We also have considerable experience in advising on transactions to reset underwater management equity and in devising new management equity packages in ‘loan to own’ transactions.” Presumably he will start by ringing up his old colleagues and telling them to stop doing that loan to own thingy, because its just not fair. I wonder how he was renumerated when he was a city lawyer, did he pay tax on all his income at 40%…….. Oddly his biog on his MP page does not name his City law firm, maybe he would rather have kept that quiet???

  2. Agressive Avoidance, if you changed the name to evasion this would stamp out all these schemes and the double glazing salesmen that propote them. Big fees, no regulation, surely someone should be regulating this very lucrative area?

  3. I thought all this was covered under DOTAS regulations?

    Apart from which what the hell is HMRC getting involved with regards to the advice process – more evidence that the FSA/FCA isnt an indpendent body and should therefore be funded by the taxpayer!

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