Sterner rules from HMRC on tax avoidance

Launched this week, the 42-page paper, Raising the Stakes on Tax Avoidance, outlined a number of tactics to enable the government to fulfil chancellor George Osborne’s budget pledge to clamp down on high-profile tax avoidance schemes and their promoters.

The six-week consultation includes proposals to give HMRC new powers to extract early information from advisers and scheme promoters, and the ability to fine up to £1m for failing to comply with requests, plus a penalty of £10,000 for each additional day of failure.

The paper also calls for additional investigation powers, and the power to impose further sanctions for promoters who have been defeated in court.

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David Gauke MP, the exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “HMRC is successful in more than 80 per cent of the avoidance cases it takes to court so we want to deter taxpayers from using these often unsuccessful schemes and ensure that they pay the tax that is due.”

Adviser View

Colin Parkin, director of Lincolnshire-based Ample Financial Services, said: “This is long overdue. We all pay our taxes, so why should large firms and wealthy individuals be able to fiddle things and get away with not paying?”