Tax Avoidance

Treasury written question – answered at on 12 March 2019.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps HMRC has taken against the promoters of disguised remuneration schemes.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

This Government is committed to tackling avoidance in all its guises. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has a suite of powers to tackle and challenge those who promote or otherwise enable tax avoidance and HMRC is using its powers to challenge major promoters of avoidance schemes, including disguised remuneration (DR) avoidance schemes.

In recent years, HMRC has been investigating over 100 promoters and others involved in avoidance, including disguised remuneration arrangements. In the last couple of years, HMRC has taken litigation action against 6 scheme promoters for failure to disclose under Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) with others deciding to disclose to avoid litigation. Further cases will be litigated in the year ahead.

HMRC has used its powers under the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes (POTAS) legislation to challenge promoters and made three successful complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority about misleading advertising; two of which relate to disguised remuneration schemes.

HMRC consider criminal investigation and referrals to prosecuting authorities where appropriate. Since the formation of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service on 1 April 2016, more than 20 individuals have been convicted for offences relating to arrangements which have been promoted and marketed as tax avoidance schemes, resulting in over 100 years custodial and more than 7 years suspended sentences being ordered. Additional matters are the subject of ongoing enquiries.

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