Following an announcement in the Pre Budget Report, HMRC have issued a consultation document to consider proposals to grant them new powers under the tax avoidance scheme disclosure regime.
At present they have no power to enquire into the failure to disclose a scheme, and whilst many scheme promoters are complying with the new disclosure rules, a small number are not.
The consultation is intended to ensure that the proposed information power will be "a proportionate and targeted response to any non-compliance encountered". The power would be exercised via the Special Commissioners.
Paymaster General, Dawn Primarolo, said:
"Tax avoidance costs the Exchequer lost revenues each year. It also undermines government public spending objectives and brings unfairness into the tax system itself.