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HMRC sends letters to 1,500 scheme users

HMRC sends letters to 1,500 scheme users

The BBC reported last week that HMRC's "Specialist Investigations Unit" was sending out 1,500 pre-emptive letters to users of a particular tax scheme suggesting it might be in their best interests to stop using it, and warning that it now viewed them as high-risk.

"You are in the small minority of people who have made the deliberate choice to avoid tax. We focus our resources on this small minority. The choice that you have made changes the way we view your tax affairs," the letter warned, adding that as well as carrying out a full investigation into the scheme, it would open an enquiry into the person's tax affairs."

Have any members seen one of these, or know any of the background to the scheme?

Are you worried by the pre-emptive nature of the attack and that it may have opened a worrying new door in the dash for cash, or is it quite a smart move to discourage aggressive tax schemes. What would you advise your clients to do, and how would you deal with the SIU? (Speaking of which, has anyone heard of this outfit before?).

We'll be following up with a news piece, so any information from the community will be most helpul - thanks.


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By DMGbus
27th Nov 2012 13:45


HMRC has forewarned taxpayers in recent years that some tax avoidance schemes are questionable.

It would be great to see a mis-selling compensation claims industry get off the ground so that taxpayers misled by the promotors of these schemes could claim redress.

Here's HMRC's spotlights web page:





Thanks (1)
27th Nov 2012 16:05

Some mistake?

I'm amazed that you haven't heard of HMRC's Specialist Investigations Unit, more commonly known as SI.



Thanks (0)
27th Nov 2012 16:19

BBC Panorama

Why did the Panorama reporter assume that HMRC are the agency to which money laundering reports have to be made.

NCIS or whatever it is now called was not mentionned once in last nights programme. They also made no mention whatsoever that there is no way that the recipient of the knowledge of money laundering would not be able to admit reporting it since tipping off is itself an offence.

Lets have David Winch's view on this.

Thanks (0)
30th Nov 2012 12:19

Not a tax person!

@John - Horler Tax - please excuse my ignorance, John, but at heart I'm a software guy and not really a tax person. Until the beginning of this year Rebecca Benneyworth took care of all this stuff for us. She's still around in a more advisory role, but me and the team have had to pick up a lot more tax work as she's devoted more attention elsewhere.

So there will be quite a few areas where I demonstrate breath-taking levels of ignorance, but thanks to advice and pointers from members such as yourself, I'm hoping to learn quickly!

We're also on the looking for any specialists who may be able to help us keep our tax coverage up to scratch.

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to forrest gump
30th Nov 2012 13:39




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30th Nov 2012 13:32

Apologies John


Given the usual high standard of reporting on this site, I assumed it was a 'senior moment' for the team.  We all have them occasionally!

Specialist Investigations (or SI) is the organisation that deals with the largest cases of suspected avoidance) and fraud.  In particular cases worked under Code of Practice 9 with the new Contractural Disclosure Facility and those involving large scale avoidance schemes.

Given HMRC's attempt to scare people into walking away from avoidance schemes there is a problem if the intended recipients have not heard of the 'threatening weapon'.


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