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Aggressive tax avoidance schemes in spotlight

The Government has announced a range of new measures aimed at clamping down on ‘tax dodgers’ including ‘aggressive tax avoidance’ schemes which are often marketed to contractors and consultants.

In advance of tomorrow’s Autumn Statement, the new measures include an additional £77m of funding for HMRC to expand their anti-avoidance activities – especially those which focus on offshore evasion and avoidance by multinationals. The Government expects this investment alone to yield £2bn extra each year in tax receipts.

A new agreement has also been made with the US tax authorities, which is hoped will improve HMRC’s ability to access information about potentially taxable income which is passed between the two countries.

Action against aggressive tax avoidance schemes

Of particular interest to Company Bug readers are the steps George Osborne and Danny Alexander are taking to tackle tax avoidance schemes following the end of a consultation period over the summer.

The Treasury wants to introduce much more robust disclosure and penalty powers to make it more difficult for tax avoidance scheme promoters to market their schemes. The Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS), which was criticised just last week by the NAO is to be extended to include more types of scheme.

Affected scheme providers must inform HMRC of their existence under the DOTAS regime, and may be required to provide further information about how their schemes operate, and who uses them, in the future.

Policies deflect attention from Government’s financial woes

These announcements are bound to prove popular with the public, and will help deflect attention from the widening deficit between tax receipts and Government spending which looks set to grow each month for some time yet.

The Chancellor is expected to make further announcements on closing further tax avoidance loopholes in tomorrow’s Autumn Statement.


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