HMRC ruling triggers tax bombshell for investors

Ms Norris said her firm has successfully recovered millions of pounds for participants in Eclipse schemes who were not told of these risks and consequences by their financial and tax advisers.

But she said that for many who have not yet come forward, it will now be too late for them to claim.

Future Capital Partners also sold and marketed the Elysian Fuels investment scheme, which has caused problems for James Hay but cut the value of the shares in the scheme from £1 each to zero in October 2015.

The provider of self-invested personal pensions is in ongoing discussions with HM Revenue & Customs over a potential solution to the sale of these investments between 2011 and 2015.

James Hay estimates the maximum potential sanction charge for the overall 2011 to 2015 period would be about £20m, assuming all Elysian Fuels shares are deemed valueless at inception.

Ian Gwinnell, director of All Counties Financial, said: "Film schemes are very high risk and I wouldn't ever consider putting my client's money in there."

A HMRC spokesman said: "Our  role is to collect the tax due under the law. We must follow the legislation in concluding the right amount to tax.

"We are committed to working positively and empathetically to discuss affordable payment arrangements with anyone facing payment difficulties. HMRC has an outstanding track record for helping & supporting those facing genuine difficulty.

"Anyone who anticipates problems paying their tax bill should contact us, as we may be able to offer extra time to pay based on individual circumstances."