HMRC To Write To 1500 Tax Avoiders

Just when you think things can’t get any more confusing HMRC have decided to write to 1500 individuals suspected of Tax Avoidance. The 1500 are all assumed to be members of one scheme which from the wording of the letters sent out HMRC plans to challenge in the near future. Of course just challenging a tax avoidance scheme doesn’t mean HMRC will win the challenge.

This type of letter, the very first of its kind looks to be about spreading fear and confusion amongst those using legitimate tax avoidance to limit their tax burden. They are offering people the opportunity to leave the scheme, essentially nothing more than a big negative marketing campaign against the scheme in question then. Until HMRC has successfuly challenged the scheme (if they can successfully challenge it) none of those 1500 people are doing anything illegal. Once again the lines between legal tax avoidance and illegal tax evasion appear to be getting more blurred.

Perhaps the most surprising element of this whole story is that most people would expect that HMRC would contact the providers of these types of schemes and not individual members? It’s certainly how things have been done in the past. It will be very interesting to see how this proceeds, what success HMRC has in frightening scheme members and how the scheme provider responds?

Have you had one of these 1500 letters, how do you plan on responding, if at all?

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