Vantis 'helping HMRC with enquiries' on tax avoidance scheme. By John Stokdyk

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HMRC would not confirm a Sunday Times article on 24 December which reported that tax investigators raided the homes of three senior accountants with Vantis as part of a crackdown on an avoidance scheme that exploits Gift Aid relief on charity share donations.

Sunday Times reporter Robert Winnett has been pursuing the case for more than six weeks and identified listed firm Vantis as the promoter of an avoidance scheme that earned cash rebates for nearly 400 clients, including England rugby captain Martin Corry and singer Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens).

The Vantis scheme takes advantage of a concession introduced in 2000 that allows people to obtain tax relief on shares they donate to charity. Investors buy shares in a start-up company which then lists to fix a market price. When the share...

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28th Dec 2006 16:09

Vantis Helping HMRC
I feel the Sunday Times article was a little misleading. To the lay reader it gives the impression that the Charities were suffering. My understanding is that that the Charties got donations they would not otherwise have received. It is the Chancellor who is short of the estimated £100m not the Charities. This has to make one think that HMRC have been leaking carefully selected information to the Journalist to make a more newswothy story.
Without commenting on the merits (or otherwise) of the scheme, it worries me if HMRC are using PR agents or the like to get a message across - However in view of the HMRC current policies on litigation and the knowledge that they do not owe the taxpayer a duty of care, one can understand this possibility.

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