HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have continued their drive into cracking down on tax evaders, following the announcement that they have won three court cases against complex tax avoidance schemes, which they say have saved the Exchequer hundreds of millions of pounds.
Earlier this month HMRC sent penalty notices to about 500,000 people, demanding they pay up at least £1,200 each for failing to submit their self-assessment tax returns; whilst last week the tax authority published the names and pictures of twenty of the country’s most wanted tax evaders.
The latest moves are all part of a drive to claw back as much tax as possible and the department’s Director General of Business Tax, Jim Harra said, that “HMRC will challenge tax avoidance relentlessly.”
Mr Harra added: “We have now had three major court successes in avoidance cases in the last month alone and I hope this sends a very clear message: These schemes don’t come cheap, you carry a serious risk that you’ll end up paying the tax and interest on top of a set-up charge which can run into the hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
While Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said that the government is committed to challenging and pursuing those avoiding tax: “These three HMRC wins are very welcome, demonstrating that if an avoidance scheme promises results that seem too good to be true, they probably are,” he explained.
The latest move by HMRC to tackle tax avoidance was a court case worth £100m against a tax avoidance scheme heard in the Upper Tribunal, which ruled against the appellants. The scheme looked to use rules dealing with selling a security before it goes ex-dividend.
As an accountant, Sarah Jenkins, specialises in management accounting, business development and financial reporting.