Tax Avoidance

Treasury written question – answered on 4th December 2020.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many penalties have been issued under the legislative powers to tackle Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes; and what steps he is taking to investigate and prosecute promoters of such schemes.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) top priority in dealing with the promoters of tax avoidance schemes is to change their behaviour so that they stop this activity altogether. HMRC uses a range of powers to achieve this, including the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes (POTAS) legislation. POTAS is designed to encourage promoters to change behaviour voluntarily or to face an escalating series of sanctions.

Following challenge many promoters have chosen to stop and others have done so as a consequence of being issued with a Conduct Notice. Penalties would only then be in point if the Courts found that the Conduct Notice had been breached or information had not been provided when the promoter is formally required to do so. None has yet reached the stage of incurring liability to a penalty.

The Government and HMRC are determined to continue to tackle promoters of tax avoidance schemes. This includes challenging the entities and individuals who promote disguised remuneration loan schemes. On 19 March 2020, HMRC published their strategy for tackling promoters of tax avoidance schemes. The strategy sets out HMRC’s work to date and outlines how HMRC will continue to take robust actions against promoters of tax avoidance. The Promoter Strategy is available on GOV.UK.

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