This week you may have seen in the media that HMRC reached a major milestone in tackling tax avoidance.
Over the last 2 years, £3 billion has been collected from users of avoidance schemes by means of accelerated payment notices. Since being introduced in 2014, more than 60,000 notices have been issued. These notices are issued to users of schemes subject to the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) rules or the General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR), or to users of similar schemes which have been defeated in litigation. The money has to be paid upfront meaning that scheme users can no longer avoid paying through lengthy, drawn out legal challenges.
With HMRC winning almost 90% of the avoidance litigation cases decided in 15/16, many users of avoidance schemes choose to settle their tax bills long before they get to this point. £2 billion of avoided tax was settled in the last year alone.
Over the last Parliament, the Government made more than 40 changes to the law to combat tax avoidance, closing down loopholes and introducing major reforms to the UK tax system. A further 15 measures have been announced since May 2015.
HMRC is coming down hard on tax avoidance and actively encourages anyone wishing to settle an avoidance issue to contact us without delay to minimise the financial impact and to pay their fair share of tax due.