Dealing with HMRC – guidance

Tax avoidance schemes currently in the spotlight

Tax avoidance schemes which HM Revenue and Customs believes are being widely offered to help those using them to avoid tax.

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‘Spotlights’ warns you about certain tax avoidance schemes which you should be aware of. These are just some of the schemes being widely offered to help those using them to avoid tax.

You should be wary of other types of schemes, not just those listed here. If you are offered a way to pay less tax that sounds too good to be true, it probably is and be aware, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) never approves any scheme.

You’re responsible for making sure that your tax return is correct - so make sure you understand what you are signing up to. If you do use an avoidance scheme you will be subjected to an HMRC enquiry.

The schemes featured in Spotlights are generally those which HMRC considers have the widest implications and about which there is the greatest need to warn potential users. They will often be schemes that have been disclosed to HMRC and have been given a Scheme Reference Number (SRN). The issue of a SRN does not mean either that HMRC ‘approves’ the scheme or that HMRC accepts that the scheme achieves its intended tax advantage.

Only a minority of schemes will appear in Spotlights. HMRC will not include schemes aimed at very specialised areas, with a limited scope or where HMRC estimate not much tax loss is involved. A scheme that has not featured in Spotlights may still be challenged.