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A Word to the Wise

HMRC seek to reason with tax avoiders

HMRC have recently issued letters to targeted individuals in an attempt to dissuade them from resorting to using tax avoidance schemes.

The people who received the Revenue correspondence were those whose name appeared on client lists of those scheme promoters who were required to disclose information for the period October 2013 – December 2013 under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS). Under DOTAS certain people must provide information to HMRC about avoidance schemes within 5 days of the schemes being made available or implemented. Usually the person providing the information will be the promoter of the scheme, i.e. the person or company who designs or markets the scheme.

The DOTAS legislation imposes a number of tests to determine if disclosure is required. In short these are:

  • Are there arrangements, i.e. a scheme, or proposals for arrangements?
  • If there are, is that scheme expected to provide a tax advantage?
  • Is getting a tax advantage expected to be one of the main benefits?
  • Does the scheme fall within one of a number of descriptions called ‘hallmarks’?

HMRC say the purpose of distributing these letters is to provoke taxpayers into thinking seriously about their involvement in tax avoidance schemes and also enlighten people about the consequences of using such schemes.

The Revenue intend to send out these letters each quarter to those people whose names crop up on subsequent promoter lists. Copies of the letters are sent to the tax advisers of the individuals involved as HMRC recognise the important role that agents have in assisting their clients to decide whether or not to participate in a tax avoidance scheme.

By Andy Vessey


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2 thoughts on “A Word to the Wise”

  1. DotasScandalDotOrg

    It is not called “reasoning”, it’s called psychological warfare (or “leveraging behavioural insights “, to adhere to HMRC’s official terminology).

    “It’s a nice DOTAS scheme you have here. It would be a shame if something happened to it…”

  2. Harpurhey

    Pay up you tax avoiding parasite scum.

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