News story

Avoidance schemes members to make upfront payments

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A list of tax avoidance schemes whose users may be required to make an upfront payment of tax has been published today by HMRC.

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The Finance Bill, which is due to receive Royal Assent later this month, will give HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) a new power called ‘accelerated payments’. This will mean users of schemes with a reference number on the list may receive a notice to make an upfront payment of tax. The list can be found online on GOV.UK.

The list is being published to help avoidance scheme users and their advisors to prepare for accelerated payments. Before issuing anyone with an accelerated payment notice, HMRC will write to them.

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said:

Most people pay the tax that is due, when it is due, so it unacceptable that a minority seek to hold on to the tax they should pay by using avoidance schemes.

Accelerated payments will tackle the small minority of taxpayers who are currently able to put off paying tax, sometimes for several years. This will put them on the same footing as the majority of taxpayers who pay their tax up front.

Currently, taxpayers must disclose that they are using an avoidance scheme. HMRC may challenge the scheme. Following Royal Assent to the Finance Bill, HMRC may seek upfront payment of the disputed tax in such cases. Taxpayers will be free to continue to make their case to the tribunal or court and, if successful, their money will be returned with interest.

HMRC aims to help the increasing numbers who want to disentangle themselves from the increasingly fruitless practice of tax avoidance and would encourage anyone wanting to settle an avoidance issue to contact HMRC immediately on 03000 530 435.

Published 15 July 2014