More task forces on the prowl

During February, HMRC has announced four new specialist task forces to combat evasion in high risk sectors.

HMRC has set up 35 task forces since the first one targeting restaurants was launched in May 2011. The initiatives bring together teams that carry out short bursts of concerted “1:1 compliance activity” in areas where there is evidence of high risk of tax evasion and fraud.

The latest task forces (and the amounts they expect to raises) will focus on:

Continued...

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Comments
ShirleyM's picture

I'm only speculating    3 thanks

ShirleyM | | Permalink

I would have thought they would get greater rewards from tackling the aggressive avoidance schemes.

If just one scheme is proven to be illegal, and has say 1000 clients, each 'avoiding' £100k in tax, they would rake in £100m in unpaid tax from just one scheme being closed down. They are going to have do a lot of work to get an extra £100m from fish & chip shops.

Ram's picture

Bully Boys

Ram | | Permalink

Isn't this all about picking the easy targets who don't have the resources to fight back.

 

 

ShirleyM's picture

Is it bully boys?    1 thanks

ShirleyM | | Permalink

Surely, HMRC staff do what they are told to do. I doubt any of the inspectors involved will have any choice in the matter.

I would like to know who and how the decision is made about which areas and trades are to be targetted, and why very little is being done about the schemes reported under DOTAS ... or so it appears!

Is it David Gauke who makes these decisions, possibly acting on the advice of a few 'accountancy/tax' advisors?????

frustratedwithhmrc's picture

I can understand Northern Ireland...    1 thanks

frustratedwithhmrc | | Permalink

Having a porous, continuous land border with the Irish Republic, there are all sorts of games that can go on across both sides of the border with Northern Ireland.

This includes evasion of duty on petrol / diesel / cigarettes / alcohol, false incorporations (making use of Eire's low 12.5% corporation tax rate for what are really NI businesses), etc.

As rates of duty and tax rise and fall on either side of the border the amount of untaxed and under taxed goods moving back and forth rises and falls.

Hopefully, the inspectors used in the NI 'crackdown' will be officers from the region who are aware of the problems locally and which areas to leave well alone / coordinate with the PSNI.

Quite a few aspects of smuggling are still carried out by former (and not so former) members of NI terrorist paramilitary organisations. Something the old Customs & Excise boys were used to dealing with, but not somewhere I would want an Inland Revenue inspector to venture.

Bully Boys/ Is it Bully Boys ?    1 thanks

Anita Houlson | | Permalink

I have had the Inland Revenue / HMRC in my sights since 1992 when they instigated my husband's personal bankruptcy for unpaid 'assessed' amounts of tax. HMRC for the most part 'rule by fear'. I have seen grown men reduced to wrecks prior to being interviewed as part of the appeal process,[I won my appeal] but had to run the gauntlet of questions from HMRC representatives. I recently underwent a tax inspection, and refused to allow HMRC to retain my accounts.I was lucky enough to have an inspector who took on board my reasons.They lost my husband's file for a year during the bankruptcy action and I would not part with mine. Inspection sorted, small amount of tax paid. This was the year my mum passed away and there were a few mistakes,but they were small. 

It must be far easier to track tax evasion within a small business and therefore are probably cost effective.

Larger companies are well able to evade/reduce their tax liability because they employ accountants for this very purpose, therefore it makes sense that any evasion will be difficult to trace.

What I do not understand, is why, when the economic climate is in part driven by the deceit of 'big business', accountants are not up in force about this.I don't expect the 'Big Four' to submit, but is there not a platform from whence you can just 'yell' NO, in support of your clients.

There would be more money in the coffers if HMRC activity in relation to bankruptcy was more transparent, it would probably offset the losses they are chasing from the little man.

The 'bigger they are, the harder they fall' 

 

 

I

Fraudulent refund claims    1 thanks

Anthony123 | | Permalink

so based on the comments above some of us would rather HMRC resources went to challenge tax avoidance schemes where HMRC may have to litigate for years to prove the scheme fails than people who set up their affairs to take fraudulent refunds - in other words stealing directly from the Exchequer and you and me?

Think that one through - so criminal activity continues with impunity while those acting - as they see it anyway - within the law - are pursued? Perhaps we all need to work a bit harder on understanding the difference between avoidance and evasion.

In any event, the officers who work on avoidance are not typically interchangeable with those who seek to combat evasion - and judging by the comments above re NI perhaps rightly so. The 2 issues take very different skills.

 

frustratedwithhmrc's picture

This goes back to the idiotic merger to create HMRC    2 thanks

frustratedwithhmrc | | Permalink

In respect of both this...

Anthony123 wrote:
So based on the comments above some of us would rather HMRC resources went to challenge tax avoidance schemes where HMRC may have to litigate for years to prove the scheme fails than people who set up their affairs to take fraudulent refunds - in other words stealing directly from the Exchequer and you and me?

and this...

Anthony123 wrote:
In any event, the officers who work on avoidance are not typically interchangeable with those who seek to combat evasion - and judging by the comments above re NI perhaps rightly so. The 2 issues take very different skills.

The reason for the separate existence of the "Inland Revenue" and "Customs & Excise" was exactly the difference in statutory powers, approach and personnel which made the merger into HMRC such a stupid thing to do - thank you Gordon Brown.

The merger has produced the worst of both worlds, with youngsters holding the title of Inspector, jumping in with hob-nailed boots into an SME business environment without either an appreciation of the business world or depth and experience of tax law.

When dealing with revenue evasion (smuggling, illicit alcohol production, etc.) you need burly men in boots as these are criminal operations run by serious, violent and dangerous people.

This is not to underplay tax revenue lost through income tax, NI, corporation tax and VAT evasion, but they are completely different sets of circumstances and is causing continuing alienation of SME taxpayers, who see themselves being victimized as 'easy targets' rather than the large corporates who have teams of professionals to pay as little tax as possible while remaining within the law.

All must be equal before the law or it ends up in disrepute.

Ram's picture

Criminalising the wrong people    1 thanks

Ram | | Permalink

Anthony123 wrote:

Think that one through - so criminal activity continues with impunity while those acting - as they see it anyway - within the law - are pursued? Perhaps we all need to work a bit harder on understanding the difference between avoidance and evasion.

 

There's a vast difference between the amount "fiddled" by a chip shop not recording a few cash sales, and a millionairre using some spurious scheme to avoid tens or hundreds of thousands.

The chip shop owner is doing it to survive, the millionairre is doing it for greed.

 

I disagree    1 thanks

Anthony123 | | Permalink

The Inland Revenue historically also used different staff for investigations into evasion and for looking into "legal" avoidance and legal queries. Those I met amongst the former were not the sorts of pussy cats the above poster might have expected.

It is depressing how often this forum just turns into a dig against the last government.

SMEs I agree are in many ways an easy target, But to go back to my original post if I set up myself up as a SME scamming HMRC of repayments then that would be fine by you? It's not really my idea of a business. And I personally am not a fan of any SME which chooses not to pay the tax due on its profits., That is evasion and evasion is a crime. Or do you think if I steal something worth £100 from a shop is that OK?  After all it's way less than the alleged potential losses from avoidance schemes so by the same reasoning it should be? What about if I stole your mobile worth the same? Would you say that's fine when the police turned round and said actually we are after a multi billion fraud at present we're not dealing with theft and shoplifting any more?

 

Ram's picture

Channel 4 Dispatches, 7-7-2012

Ram | | Permalink

Anthony123 wrote:

And I personally am not a fan of any SME which chooses not to pay the tax due on its profits., That is evasion and evasion is a crime.

 

Evasion is what Amazon, Starbucks, and the like do. And of course, many senior staff at HMRC are themselves avoiding tax.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2170325/Revenue-chiefs-face-tax-avoidance-row-undercover-investigation--including-head-ethics.html 

Quite frankly the senior staff at HMRC are in no position to lecture anyone else about tax evasion or avoidance.

 

frustratedwithhmrc's picture

Back to Evasion / Avoidance again    3 thanks

frustratedwithhmrc | | Permalink

Ram wrote:
Evasion is what Amazon, Starbucks, and the like do. And of course, many senior staff at HMRC are themselves avoiding tax.

If any of these companies had undertaken outright evasion, HMRC would quite rightly have had a field day, however they have not - at worst they have used aggressive tax avoidance mechanisms.

Tax avoidance strategies such as the "Double Irish" or "Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich" are aggressive and offensive and any parliament worth it's salt would have banned them the very moment they were first exercised.

The difficulty is that these tax avoidance strategies are effective because they target loopholes in our EU treaty commitments rather than UK specific legislation, thus the legislative 'hole' they are exploiting is where the UK parliament at Westminster has voluntarily ceded power to the EU.

Unlike UK specific legislation, amending the fundamental treaties of the EU would require renegotiation among the 27 nations of the EU. Even with qualified majority voting it will be difficult to pass the necessary changes to block these tax avoidance strategies quickly.

As has been demonstrated over the years, every time the UK government goes to the EU to demand changes to EU treaties, it costs us, usually in further reductions to our EU budget rebate. It is entirely possible that the cost of renegotiating the treaties would be greater than any tax recovered.

Even if such renegotiation could be achieved, there is nothing to say that the companies undertaking such tax avoidance would suddenly start writing cheques to HMRC. There is every possibility that they would restructure their avoidance strategies to operate within the new framework and we're back to square one.

As decades of tax avoidance has shown us, once companies commence aggressive avoidance techniques they rarely cease, but simply shift to the next strategy. The only people who always benefit are the specialist tax advisers.

memyself-eye's picture

Task Force?

memyself-eye | | Permalink

Another one

I just wonder when there will be any sector of the economy not subject to a "Task force".

All so public sector, so predictable, so pointless.

I assume the staff 'tasked' with these  moronic targets are not available to deal with, errr...tax evasion.

This is truly Orwellian fantasy from a tax system that is, at all levels, held in utter disrepute.

What happened to tax simplification?

BKD's picture

Evasion?    4 thanks

BKD | | Permalink

Ram wrote:

Evasion is what Amazon, Starbucks, and the like do.

Nonsense

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Why not just ...    2 thanks

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... have a task force to check up on companies that are formed for a short while and then get liquidated with no returns made (and no tax paid)!

Ram's picture

There is no excuse for rudeness

Ram | | Permalink

BKD wrote:

Ram wrote:

Evasion is what Amazon, Starbucks, and the like do.

Nonsense

 

Would you care to expand on you monosyllabic utterance, or are you simply trying to be inflammatory?  

 

DMGbus's picture

Evasion vs Avoidance    2 thanks

DMGbus | | Permalink

Ram wrote:

BKD wrote:

Ram wrote:

Evasion is what Amazon, Starbucks, and the like do.

Nonsense

 

Would you care to expand on you monosyllabic utterance, or are you simply trying to be inflammatory?  

 

There appears to be some confusion between avoidance and evasion.

One is lawful (knowing and playing the rules - being compliant) = avoidance (albeit regarded as immoral by some)

The other is unlawful (knowing the rules, but being dishonest and either overstating expenses or understating income) = evasion

In the case of multinationals there are meant to be rules (transfer pricing) to counter overstating cross-border costs, however if the costs claimed crossborder match income declared in another territory there is no false accounting - it is left to HMRC to challenge this under the transfer pricing rules.   Perhaps HMRC lack the resources to efffectively police the transfer pricing rules, by "police" I mean raise questions as to the commercial justification for cross-border charges between related parties.    

 

Happy Up North Accountant's picture

Utterly butterly    2 thanks

Happy Up North ... | | Permalink

Ram wrote:

BKD wrote:

Ram wrote:

Evasion is what Amazon, Starbucks, and the like do.

Nonsense

 

Would you care to expand on you monosyllabic utterance, or are you simply trying to be inflammatory?  

 

 

I believe that BKD was rightly pointing out that, without intending any rudeness on my part, your assertion that the offshore tax saving mechanisms of Starbucks and Amazon are tax evasion, which by definition is illegal, is nonsense, and I would have to agree.

As another poster pointed out - they are at best prime examples of aggressive tax avoidance, which, whilst distasteful to many, is perfectly legal, so far as I am aware.

BKD's picture

To expand    2 thanks

BKD | | Permalink

Ram wrote:

BKD wrote:

Ram wrote:

Evasion is what Amazon, Starbucks, and the like do.

Nonsense

 

Would you care to expand on you monosyllabic utterance, or are you simply trying to be inflammatory?  

 

There is a difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion. Even if HMRC and the Government do not understand the difference, most tax advisers do. To repeat, therefore, the suggestion that Amazon et al are engaged in tax evasion is nonsense.

Hope that clears things up for you.

frustratedwithhmrc's picture

This is a further blurring of the line between avoidance/evasion    4 thanks

frustratedwithhmrc | | Permalink

BKD wrote:
There is a difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion. Even if HMRC and the Government do not understand the difference, most tax advisers do. To repeat, therefore, the suggestion that Amazon et al are engaged in tax evasion is nonsense.

I would actually go further and say politicians, HMRC and pro-tax groups (Occupy London, Tax Justice Network, Justice for Taxes Network, Peoples Front of Judea, Judean Peoples Front, etc.) deliberately blur the lines between avoidance and evasion so that they can claim that legitimate actions of large corporates are illegal instead of the reality, which is that they are legal, but distasteful / immoral.

I didn't vote in this government, or any government for that matter, since turning 18, to support morality. I voted for them to support the law.

This country is a nation of laws, which differentiates us from Somalia. It is supported by the law abiding majority. I would rather like that to continue as it has been the mainstay of British freedom since the signing of the Magna Carta.

ShirleyM's picture

Just to be pedantic ....    4 thanks

ShirleyM | | Permalink

Ram wrote:

BKD wrote:

Ram wrote:

Evasion is what Amazon, Starbucks, and the like do.

Nonsense

Would you care to expand on you monosyllabic utterance, or are you simply trying to be inflammatory?  

Nonsense has two syllables, therefore is not monosyllabic. Just as avoidance is not evasion.

frustratedwithhmrc's picture

Pedantry of the Accounting Web variety    4 thanks

frustratedwithhmrc | | Permalink

ShirleyM wrote:
Nonsense has two syllables, therefore is not monosyllabic. Just as avoidance is not evasion.

As always Shirley, your down-to-earth approach restores common sense. 

Ram's picture

The line

Ram | | Permalink

The line between tax “avoidance” and tax “evasion” is moving. As the Chancellor has made clear whether it’s called avoidance or evasion is irrelevant, if it’s morally wrong then it is not acceptable.

I find it rather sad that instead of condemning such immoral behaviour by large corporations, several posters are so small minded that they have seized on a comment as a vehicle to massage their own ego’s by shouting  - “look at me I’m clever”.  One has to wonder at what motivates some people to go off topic to score some cheap debating point as to whether a comment really is or is not monosyllabic, and at the insulting nature of that original monosyllabic comment.  

Clearly any accountant supporting immoral behaviour by large corporations and the mega-rich whether it is termed avoidance or evasion needs to take a long hard look at their own morals as they are supporting tax evasion/avoidance on a large scale at the cost of an additional burden of tax on the already overburdened poor, the sick, and the elderly 

ShirleyM's picture

Yep, look at me, I'm clever????    2 thanks

ShirleyM | | Permalink

Ram wrote:

The line between tax “avoidance” and tax “evasion” is moving. As the Chancellor has made clear whether it’s called avoidance or evasion is irrelevant, if it’s morally wrong then it is not acceptable.

Immoral, and illegal, are two different ballgames. If being able to tell the difference makes me very clever, then so be it. Where does that leave the Chancellor?

Why are you arguing? Most of the accountants on here do not agree with profit shifting, or aggressive avoidance, but it would be incorrect to call it evasion until it has been proved illegal.

Isn't 'innocent until proved guilty' the mainstay of our legal system? It's such a damned shame that it costs so much money to get this aggressive avoidance proved to be illegal.

frustratedwithhmrc's picture

Your experiences may differ    5 thanks

frustratedwithhmrc | | Permalink

Ram wrote:
Clearly any accountant supporting immoral behaviour by large corporations and the mega-rich whether it is termed avoidance or evasion needs to take a long hard look at their own morals as they are supporting tax evasion/avoidance on a large scale at the cost of an additional burden of tax on the already overburdened poor, the sick, and the elderly

In my experience, most "jobbing accountants" like myself are quite happy to undertake normal tax planning (husband & wife companies, high dividends / low salary, pension payments, ensuring clients are outside IR35, etc.) to reduce taxation, but draw the line at schemes put forward by so called "professional tax consultants" or crooks as they are more commonly known.

While schemes such as the never-never loans participated in by Jimmy Carr et al may technically be legal, I think you will find that the majority of accountants (self included) will have nothing to do with them.

This is not just because they are morally repugnant (although they are), but that past experience has shown that those taking up such schemes often end up regretting their decision when HMRC challenges them in the High Court and wins or alternately, Parliament passes legislation (potentially retrospectively) to declare them illegal.

Anybody that wants to save a few quid at the risk of years of HMRC investigations, legal costs, interests and penalties is an idiot. They deserve everything they get. I understand these schemes (by and large) and I wouldn't touch them with a 10' barge poll.

Any client that wishes to participate in one of these schemes gets a 15-minute discussion on reality and if they persist a disengagement letter.

My attitude is more "robust" than my colleagues generally, but it is not THAT different.

Constantly Confused's picture

Darn    3 thanks

Constantly Confused | | Permalink

ShirleyM wrote:

Nonsense has two syllables, therefore is not monosyllabic.

Darn, you beat me to it! :)

K2    3 thanks

The Black Knight | | Permalink

frustratedwithhmrc wrote:

While schemes such as the never-never loans participated in by Jimmy Carr et al may technically be legal, I think you will find that the majority of accountants (self included) will have nothing to do with them.

This is not just because they are morally repugnant (although they are), but that past experience has shown that those taking up such schemes often end up regretting their decision when HMRC challenges them in the High Court and wins or alternately, Parliament passes legislation (potentially retrospectively) to declare them illegal.

Anybody that wants to save a few quid at the risk of years of HMRC investigations, legal costs, interests and penalties is an idiot. They deserve everything they get. I understand these schemes (by and large) and I wouldn't touch them with a 10' barge poll.

The K2  enquiries have started .....hopefully there will be a tribunal case soon. We can then see whether they fail as many of these schemes seem to have done recently..

 

Andy Reeves's picture

I agree wholeheartedly with    2 thanks

Andy Reeves | | Permalink

I agree wholeheartedly with all of the posts on here decrying the aggresive avoidance schemes. However, when I said as much in a post a year or so ago, John Stoydok deleted my post and warned me about the tone of my comment!

I suppose (and hope) that this is a reflection on the changing times.

this thread was about Evasion    1 thanks

The Black Knight | | Permalink

This thread was about Evasion (NOT AVOIDANCE) confusing the two either deliberately or by ignorance renders the discussion about either useless.

There is much more to be collected from Evasion and therefore it is the larger problem.

Probably the easier to collect too but we are talking criminals here (even though HMRC may choose the civil route)

Unfortunately it has been a free for all for so long that some stern action now needs to be taken before it is too late......Not sure if announcing imaginary task forces will have any effect whatsoever and the results from previous task forces seem to have a bit hit and miss...As HMRC are still not policing using intelligence but continue to use the old random selection method.

We have seen this time and time again with HMRC though.

BKD's picture

For the avoidance of doubt    2 thanks

BKD | | Permalink

Ram wrote:

Clearly any accountant supporting immoral behaviour by large corporations and the mega-rich whether it is termed avoidance or evasion needs to take a long hard look at their own morals as they are supporting tax evasion/avoidance on a large scale at the cost of an additional burden of tax on the already overburdened poor, the sick, and the elderly 

I never made any comment on whether what Amazon et al are doing is acceptable or not - that is a matter for my own conscience. But until such time that their activities are outlawed, then they are not evading tax. The fact that George Osborne doesn't have the intelligence to distinguish between legal and illegal activities (however morally repugnant he may consider them to be) doesn't turn avoidance into evasion - there is a very important line, albeit increasingly blurry, between the two. You seemed to be equally unclear on the distinction, which is why I (and others) have tried to clarify it.

For the record, I've examined my own morals and am quite satisfied with them.

Of course what

justsotax | | Permalink

we should also consider (particularly in the case of starbucks) is the transfer pricing model used....because just like 'spouse wages' if it doesn't reflect the actual circumstances then arguably it moves from merely good planning/avoidance to evasion.  If we are to believe that starbucks 'UK' has made losses for the majority of its existence one can only assume it is either a 'hobby' or a charity.....i think it is neither which leads me to question the transfer pricing model it uses (or more to the point the one the Revenue have accepted).

 

 

frustratedwithhmrc's picture

Starbucks transfer pricing

frustratedwithhmrc | | Permalink

If you look at the accounts and completely remove all of the transfer pricing elements, Starbucks in the UK still ends up making losses, for about the last decade.

This is because:

1. The UK is actually a very competitive market for coffee with major UK chains such as Costa Coffee and lots of independents all competing for the UK public's latte addiction.

2. Starbucks expanded too rapidly and is paying high street rents that are disproportionately above what competitors are paying. Since Starbucks have recognized this and are taking corrective action, it should resolve itself although there will be costs of relocations / renegotiations.

All told, Starbucks isn't paying corporation tax, not because they are dodging taxes (although they are set-up to do so), but because they are making losses through an over-expensive high street expansion.

Once they get their costs under control, it might be another matter though.

Semantics

EYRN | | Permalink

Avoidance is merely a method of evasion which hasn’t been made illegal yet.

 

ShirleyM's picture

Semantics?    1 thanks

ShirleyM | | Permalink

EYRN wrote:

Avoidance is merely a method of evasion which hasn’t been made illegal yet.

Your comment would have been more credible if you had said 'some' avoidance, or even 'aggressive avoidance'.

Are you an accountant EYRN? If so, then your comment is quite worrying. If not, then you need to stop listening to the Chancellor.

Very Orwellian    2 thanks

markfd | | Permalink

EYRN wrote:

Avoidance is merely a method of evasion which hasn’t been made illegal yet.

 

When will the following be made illegal then:

- Owning your own house

- Investing in a pension

- Giving your children things

- Putting money in an ISA

- Realising gains under the CGT threshold

- Going to work abroad

 

It seems some people won't be happy until we are like East Germany - killing people who want to leave the country.

 

BKD's picture

Much more than semantics    1 thanks

BKD | | Permalink

EYRN wrote:

Avoidance is merely a method of evasion which hasn’t been made illegal yet.

 

Whatever you call them, there is a crucial difference between the two - one that most competent advisers recognise. If you wish to call them legal evasion and illegal evasion (why use one word when two will do) that is up to you. The rest of us prefer the convenience of avoidance and evasion. As Shirley says, sounds like you've been listening to the politicians and HMRC too much. (Perhaps you're one or the other?)

frustratedwithhmrc's picture

Legal evasion and illegal evasion? No.

frustratedwithhmrc | | Permalink

BKD wrote:
If you wish to call them legal evasion and illegal evasion

Sorry, but I cannot agree. Evasion is illegal, avoidance is not.

Where there is disagreement is over the wide realm of avoidance, from that which is outside the scope of UK tax by explicit legislation from parliament (ISA's, etc.), that which is common-practice such as primarily using dividends to extract profits from small businesses to avoid NI through transfer pricing and on to the extreme's (what I was always told to refer to as "aggressive avoidance") such as never-never loans.

When Denis Healey, former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer once said “The difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion is the thickness of a prison wall.” he was quite adamant that the difference is illegality and nothing else.

The reason why this is a problem, where it wasn't so much in Healy's day is that we are now prevented from legislating to close these loopholes by our treaties with the EU.

This is not a bug, it is a feature - it creates pressure for EU action to 'harmonize' the tax rules.

That does make me worried...

BKD's picture

I agree with the disagreement

BKD | | Permalink

frustratedwithhmrc wrote:

BKD wrote:
If you wish to call them legal evasion and illegal evasion

Sorry, but I cannot agree. Evasion is illegal, avoidance is not.

I cannot agree either - the distinction between (legal) avoidance and (illegal) evasion is quite clear in my and most others' minds. I was only suggesting that Mr Osborne et al seem to have succeeded in muddling the thinking of some folks. For the avoidance (or evasion) of doubt I wasn't suggesting for one second that the terms 'legal evasion' and 'illegal evasion' are acceptable.

Comparison

EYRN | | Permalink

To quate from another atticle  - "

Cameron likened “aggressive” forms of tax avoidance by multinationals to illegal tax evasion.

He said: “I think there is a legitimate debate to say very aggressive forms of avoidance are not appropriate." 

 

It's quite clear that many tax avoidance schemes are going to be outlawed (not before time). The only question is how far will the government go in closing loopholes.

 

ShirleyM's picture

haha ... you like a joke EYRN?

ShirleyM | | Permalink

Yep ... politicians are always ethical, honest & honourable, do not deceive voters, and spin never enters their heads.

Now what planet are we on today?

EDIT: I would be delighted if all the aggressive avoidance schemes were closed down. I still get annoyed that these schemes cost the country a vast amount of money, both in tax revenue lost, and the expense of court litigation. If the costs could somehow be put back on the 'inventors' and promoters of these schemes at least the country would recoup something.

Back to the topic    2 thanks

The Black Knight | | Permalink

Are these task forces going to be effective.

1, They seem to be hit and miss affairs for publicity purposes only.

2, HMRC is aware of quite large cases of easily provable tax evasion, but takes no action. Either showing an unwillingness to act or a lack of resources because they are chasing all the chip shop owners (many of whom may turn out to be honest despite handling cash)

3, You just pick an industry or an area that is not being looked at (phew we are not in the area or whoops better fly straight for a year.

4, HMRC clearly does not use its intelligence that it has spent a fortune gathering.

It does make you wonder if the deficit is real? After all they would fix it wouldn't they.

The Civil service (HMRC) seems to suffer from a lack of will, lack of intelligence and a lack of imagination. It is good at replicating and processing a daft idea born of the first three though.

 

BKD's picture

So what?    1 thanks

BKD | | Permalink

Do you believe and agree with everything that politicians say?

EYRN wrote:

Cameron likened “aggressive” forms of tax avoidance by multinationals to illegal tax evasion.

He said: “I think there is a legitimate debate to say very aggressive forms of avoidance are not appropriate." 

So what?

Cameron and his buddies can say what they like. That doesn't change a thing - avoidance is legal, evasion is illegal

And if you analyse his words carefully, since a debate requires a difference of opinion what he effectively said was that "I think there is a legitimate debate to say that very aggressive forms of avoidance are appropriate". What he probably meant to say was "I think aggressive forms of avoidance are not appropriate" - but he didn't.

EYRN wrote:

It's quite clear that many tax avoidance schemes are going to be outlawed (not before time). The only question is how far will the government go in closing loopholes.

 

So what?

Until a tax avoidance scheme (however aggressive and repugnant) or loophole is outlawed, it is legal.

You can beat your drum as loudly as you want, avoidance is avoidance and evasion is evasion.

Time to let the courts decide

EYRN | | Permalink

BKD wrote:

So what?

Until a tax avoidance scheme (however aggressive and repugnant) or loophole is outlawed, it is legal.

You can beat your drum as loudly as you want, avoidance is avoidance and evasion is evasion.

 

You seem to be in favour of crooks manipulating the system for their own greed whilst honest people are overtaxed to make up the shortfall.  In actual fact many aggressive avoidance schemes are illegal, they merely haven’t been ruled upon by a court yet.

What is required is for HMRC to start actively prosecuting those using such schemes to allow the court an opportunity to rule on their legality. The fact is that no matter what a piece of legislation says, and no matter what “loopholes” someone thinks they can exploit, it is the task of the courts to rule what is and isn’t illegal, and it is for the court to do so on the basis of what it believes parliament’s intentions were in drafting the legislation.

I suspect that many aggressive schemes will fail to satisfy the courts as, when, and if, they are tested.

 

 

confused.com    1 thanks

The Black Knight | | Permalink

EYRN wrote:

BKD wrote:

So what?

Until a tax avoidance scheme (however aggressive and repugnant) or loophole is outlawed, it is legal.

You can beat your drum as loudly as you want, avoidance is avoidance and evasion is evasion.

 

You seem to be in favour of crooks manipulating the system for their own greed whilst honest people are overtaxed to make up the shortfall.  In actual fact many aggressive avoidance schemes are illegal, they merely haven’t been ruled upon by a court yet.

What is required is for HMRC to start actively prosecuting those using such schemes to allow the court an opportunity to rule on their legality. The fact is that no matter what a piece of legislation says, and no matter what “loopholes” someone thinks they can exploit, it is the task of the courts to rule what is and isn’t illegal, and it is for the court to do so on the basis of what it believes parliament’s intentions were in drafting the legislation.

I suspect that many aggressive schemes will fail to satisfy the courts as, when, and if, they are tested.

 

It does seem that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the terminology and how the law operates.

I think you need to understand what Fraud is before stating everything that is more tax efficient is tax fraud.

To put it in football terms:

You might not agree with the offside rule or time wasting, goal hanging or shooting from the halfway line, but it is distinctly different from a deliberate leg breaking foul or deliberate hand ball ?

 

ShirleyM's picture

What!    1 thanks

ShirleyM | | Permalink

EYRN wrote:

BKD wrote:

So what?

Until a tax avoidance scheme (however aggressive and repugnant) or loophole is outlawed, it is legal.

You can beat your drum as loudly as you want, avoidance is avoidance and evasion is evasion.

You seem to be in favour of crooks manipulating the system for their own greed whilst honest people are overtaxed to make up the shortfall.  In actual fact many aggressive avoidance schemes are illegal, they merely haven’t been ruled upon by a court yet.

You seem to be adding 2 plus 2 and coming up with 5000! That is downright untrue, and you do yourself no favours by making out BKD said he was in favour of crooks. If you can't be honest then you really don't have anything worth saying, do you?

Old Greying Accountant's picture

But ...    2 thanks

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

EYRN wrote:

BKD wrote:

So what?

Until a tax avoidance scheme (however aggressive and repugnant) or loophole is outlawed, it is legal.

You can beat your drum as loudly as you want, avoidance is avoidance and evasion is evasion.

 

You seem to be in favour of crooks manipulating the system for their own greed whilst honest people are overtaxed to make up the shortfall.  In actual fact many aggressive avoidance schemes are illegal, they merely haven’t been ruled upon by a court yet.

What is required is for HMRC to start actively prosecuting those using such schemes to allow the court an opportunity to rule on their legality. The fact is that no matter what a piece of legislation says, and no matter what “loopholes” someone thinks they can exploit, it is the task of the courts to rule what is and isn’t illegal, and it is for the court to do so on the basis of what it believes parliament’s intentions were in drafting the legislation.

I suspect that many aggressive schemes will fail to satisfy the courts as, when, and if, they are tested.

as BKD says, until that ruling is given they are legal.

BKD's picture

Setting the record straight    2 thanks

BKD | | Permalink

EYRN wrote:
 

You seem to be in favour of crooks manipulating the system for their own greed whilst honest people are overtaxed to make up the shortfall. 

Wrong - quite wrong

I am a lurker. I have about

AddsUP2Me | | Permalink

I am a lurker. I have about ten sites on the internet that I read, forums that is. I am not an accountant but you guys are a great read. Not only do you impart information in a totally accessible way to the lurking layman, you have interesting personalities.
If I ever hear anyone say that accountants are boring, I will have a small speech emerge involuntarily from my person to differ, and I  wont be begging.