Tax Avoidance

Treasury written question – answered on 12th September 2014.

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Photo of Richard Fuller Richard Fuller Conservative, Bedford

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce a threshold for the maximum proportion of a person’s assets HM Revenue and Customs should seek as advance payment on tax avoidance schemes to prevent people becoming bankrupt.

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will treat Accelerated Payments as a debt like any other, so HMRC will be able to use their normal considerations and flexibilities in cases of genuine hardship. HMRC will consider alternative payment arrangements as they do with any debt. The priority in cases of genuine hardship will be to get people onto a payment track so that the debt is paid as quickly as possible.

It would be complex and costly to assess the ability of all those due an Accelerated Payment notice to pay the notice in advance of issuing it. It also risks creating a rigid approach that does not provide the flexibility to treat individual cases on their own terms.

HMRC will equally be able to use their full range of debt collection powers as necessary to recover what is owed by the taxpayer, including insolvency powers in the most extreme cases.

HMRC will always ensure that its action is proportionate and the particular action will always depend on the precise facts and circumstances of the particular taxpayer.

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