High risk tax avoidance schemes to be listed by HMRC

Accountants may be interested to learn that HMRC is to publish a list of high risk tax avoidance schemes that are unlikely to deliver the savings they boast.

The exchequer secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said these are artificial and highly aggressive tax avoidance schemes which the government wants to put an end to. For far too long, wealthy individuals have been using these schemes as a means to get a cheap loan from the government. As well as stopping this practice, HMRC’s new proposals would reduce the cost of interventions and make sure the UK had a fairer system of taxation.

He went on to say that HMRC would really like to hear the opinions of professional bodies and tax advisers.

Under the new proposals, people who make use of the listed schemes would need to disclose the fact to the Revenue and they would be liable to pay additional charges for any tax underpaid.

Small business owners may want to take advice from contractor accountants or specialist tax accountants if they feel they might be affected by this.

Meanwhile, the Treasury is looking for a permanent chairperson and tax director for the Office of Tax Simplification. The successful applicant will need to give the Chancellor independent advice on ways to simplify the UK’s tax system.

A treasury spokesperson said the board of the OTS shapes its priorities and strategies, makes decisions on proposals to review the tax system and agrees key recommendations.

The new tax director will have to be a leading tax professional who has extensive technical understanding of both personal and business taxation, as well as an appreciation of what tax policy changes imply and the tradeoffs involved in making tax policy.

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