23/07/2012

Government Propose New Anti Tax Avoidance Schemes

The government have promised to name and shame wealthy people who use "aggressive" tax avoidance schemes.

Just part of a government consultation on curbing tax avoidance, treasury minister David Gauke, also announced that companies offering such products could be forced to hand over details of their clients.

The Treasury estimates that 14% of all unpaid tax income is due to aggressive avoidance schemes. Although these schemes are not illegal, ministers are promising to clamp down on them.

They are considering measures to make finance companies disclose details of wealthy clients who take advantage of such schemes.

These firms will also have to say how all their tax avoidance schemes work, not just the ones for which they are being criticised.

This comes alongside plans to legislate to curb tax avoidance through a general anti-avoidance rule.

Companies could face fines of more than £1m if they flout the new rules.

In a speech to the Policy Exchange think tank, Mr Gauke said HM Revenue and Customs already had an "excellent compliance record", adding: "We are building on the work we have already done to make life difficult for those who artificially and aggressively reduce their tax bill.

"These schemes damage our ability to fund public services and provide support to those who need it. They harm businesses by distorting competition. They damage public confidence.

"And they undermine the actions of the vast majority of taxpayers, who pay more in tax as a consequence of others enjoying a free ride."

(H/GK)

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