Tax avoidance clampdown reinforces IFA 'enablers' tag

Tax avoidance clampdown reinforces IFA 'enablers' tag

Philip Hammond has made his strongest suggestion yet that the era of widespread tax avoidance schemes may be coming to an end, announcing a number measures to bring the practice under control.

Delivering his Autumn Statement to parliament last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said £5bn would be be raised from measures to stop multi-nationals avoiding paying tax.

Mr Hammond also said measures to crackdown on inappropriate tax avoidance would raise around £2bn and that the government would raise £630m by removing tax benefits of disguised earnings for the self-employed and employers.

In August the Treasury unveiled new proposals to penalise what it pegged 'enablers' of tax avoidance that could include advisers and accountants. 

Rajiv Vadgama, director of tax at London-based RSM, said: "The government has been taking an anti-avoidance stance of late and, yes, this is to do with public perception of the [financial services] sector.

"The problem is that an IFA will now have less options that could ultimately may lead to some being less procactive for their clients through no fault of their own."

Sue Moore, technical manager for private client tax at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, said: "Where its tax evasion and not what was enabled by Parliament it has to be stamped out, where its tax avoidance that's often what was intended. For instance, with inheritance tax it is intended that you should be able to action that. 

"With the release of the draft proposals the government need to be very clear of what tax avoidance is and certainly what an enabler is."

Kate Ison, senior associate in the tax team at Berwin Leighton Paisner, said: "We are disappointed that the government is proceeding to introduce measures imposing a penalty on 'enablers' of avoidance. This will restrict the ability of taxpayers to access independent and professional tax advice in relation to routine or well established tax planning."