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HMRC and ASA team up to tackle tax avoidance

HMRC and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has launched a new public campaign to cut out “misleading marketing” by promoters of tax avoidance schemes. 

The advertising scheme entitled ‘Tax avoidance: don’t get caught out’ aims to warn and educate contractors about how to identify if they are being offered a tax avoidance scheme, and the pitfalls of using these programmes. 

It follows reports by the tax authority that it has issued 11 spotlight warnings on different tax avoidance schemes being offered to people between 2019-20.  

HMRC has stated it has made “significant progress” in combating tax avoidance recently, and confirmed 20 promoters have “moved out of promoting altogether” in the last six years due to the authority making it “tougher” for them to operate.

Jim Harra, chief executive and first permanent secretary of HMRC, said:”We’re doing our part to close down these schemes and make it difficult for promoters, but we need the public to play their part too.

“You really don’t need to be a tax expert to spot an avoidance scheme,  anything that sounds too good to be true almost certainly is, and anything which claims you can take home, say, 90% of your pay, or asks you to sign up to loans from an offshore trust just so you can be paid, is something to steer clear of.”

He added: “That’s why we’re starting a big push to encourage taxpayers to steer clear of tax avoidance schemes. This is part of HMRC’s wider work to make it much harder for promoters to operate.”

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