Playing with fire?

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Rebecca Benneyworth
Rebecca Benneyworth Training Consultants
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A company is marketing an "HMRC approved" scheme to move commission only staff to self employment. There will be tears predicts Rebecca Benneyworth.

We recently ran a news article about an outsourcing and payroll provider called TMS which has launched “HMRC approved scheme” which allows employees who work on commission to become self employed, and thus to save the employer significant sums in National Insurance contributions.

“Oh really?” was my first thought – “I wonder if HMRC know this?” It struck me as an odd thing to do – if you do have a “magic potion” surely you would not want to draw the tax authority’s attention to it? I cannot for one minute believe that HMRC will be happy about th...

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By Anonymous
22nd Mar 2010 08:21

Nail on the head

Spot on Rebecca. If it isn't blown out of the water immediately all this will lead to is more Government legislation to shut it down... and us complaining about the legislation necessary to shut it down.  

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By Anonymous
22nd Mar 2010 12:35


Although I am not even sure HMRC will necessarily want new legislation.

When I read about the original scheme my thought - cynically - was that this looks great for the company selling it (obviously) and great for an HR department to put to management - look at all the money we save. Not so good for employees but they may not have much choice.

But where it will go wrong is in the detail. Contracts and working arrangements will be put down on paper to ensure as far as possible the self employed aspect is fulfilled. But the staff in question and their managers - human nature being what it is - will probably just carry on as before. So all HMRC has to do is go in and ask how far is what you say on paper you do what is actually happening out in the field - oh dear it isn't - sorry guys large tax bill coming. And the scheme provider will just say - we told you what to do; it was your fault you did not make sure you did what we said.

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By Anonymous
22nd Mar 2010 13:51

hear hear !

but I am not sure HMRC are on the same wavelength ? If these people are self employed then fair play but I wonder if each case will be considered on its merits or just factory processed.

However civil servants get a tremendous pension package and an unbelievable redundancy package, may be the cuts should start there !

? Why can't HMRC spot dead cert cases instead of chasing the innocent around with spurious points and loosing.

Are HMRC in on the game I wonder?  IR35, MSC's Umbrella companies (used quite a lot by the MOD) ? whats all that about ? overarching employment contracts and fantastic flat rate expenses for non business travel etc etc. Creates work for someone no doubt but in my world is a pain in the butt[***] that my clients and I eventually have to finance.

I can't make it all add up ! Could be why we have a deficit ? and a convenient recession to bury bad management.

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By Anonymous
22nd Mar 2010 14:07

On this subject...............

Read one of the short adverts at the bottom of this page! Is it a bit rich rallying against such schemes, and on the same page having an advert for something that sounds very much like the scheme in the article, and making similar claims of fully HMRC compliant?



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By Anonymous
22nd Mar 2010 14:11

Sounds Fine to Me..?

I'm going to play devils advocate here.

I think the scheme looks fine, according to the details you provided us with. The only details you have given us about the scheme is that employees are paid 100% commission. If the "employees" are infact 100% commission based, then they are not employees, but rather getting only a profit share (hence self-employed). In fact<!--break-->  there is then a strong case for getting back any NI ers paid by the company (and the individuals concerned claiming back their own Class 1 contributions).

Furthermore, if they were employees, they cannot be paid 100% commission, as they would have to be at least paid the national minimum wage, irrespective of commissions. Also, the individuals should not be getting holiday pay, since if they are on holiday, they cannot be earning any commission, and if all they get paid is their commission, it then goes by definition they aren't getting any holiday pay. If they get paid any money while on holiday, presumably it was for commissions that they had previously accrued before going on holiday.

Of course, all these details would have to be written into a "contract of service" as opposed to an "employment contract". This may work in telemarketing and sales quite well, particularly since telemarketing is often done by young adults/older children, who aren't thinking about pension rights, don't think about being ill etc. They may prefer it if they are a superstar salesman, and want a share of the profits, rather than a salary (though most sales jobs have an element of both obviously).

"HMRC Approval": I think it is fine if such companies describe their "services" as "HMRC Approved" (though obviously this may sound a little misleading), so long as they have a track record of toe-ing the line according to HMRC, disclosing their scheme in the relevant places. 

In the Finance Act 2004, HMRC requires the disclosure of tax avoidance schemes so that what you are saying doesn't happen: that HMRC doesn't find out for many years later about the scheme, and then when it does, it tries to claw back many years worth of tax avoided. If this company has used it successfully already, disclosing this scheme on individual tax returns for the "self-employed" and on the business CT600 and hasn't been challenged, then I am up for it!! Surely, the most HMRC could ever claw back would then be less than 2 years worth of tax (If I remember correctly, HMRC can only open an enquiry into a tax return up to 12 months after it has been submitted (or its due date if later)- obviously with the exception of fraud/tax evasion etc. But by disclosing the scheme, you clearly aren't committing tax evasion).

 Are my thoughts all just rubbish? Let me know.


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By Anonymous
22nd Mar 2010 15:04

Self employed

hmm is commission only self employed? does it depend who provides the leads? Sitting in a call centre, or even your own home following leads supplied by company A and only selling company A's product/service has a ring of mutual obligation about it, don't you think? the rates paid by these types of businesses are rarely such that you could make a living doing that one or two days a week, so it has to be a full time endeavour, reducing scope to sell company B/C/D.


An army of self employed people without a clue how to do returns. Actually this has just reminded me of something i saw 12 months ago. I think it was some sort of customer service business for mail order sales. You worked from home as and when, they guaranteed you I think 30 hours work a week. The rub was they would only take you on on the basis you had your own limited company, which they would help you set up, but that was as far as it went. the testimonials were all gung ho, making thousands a week, but the fact they said their average hours provided were about 28 make me wonder how that could possibly be, as they did appear to be operating a cap on the hours.

Next we will be seeing an army of small companies again with owners completely ignorant of their responsibilities

All sounds a little fishy.





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By Anonymous
22nd Mar 2010 15:08

Sour grapes alert!!!! Don't we all pay accountants to 'minimise'

The article does appear to be too emotive and has an air of sour grapes!
A accountant that specialises in tax (where companies employ you to reduce their tax burden NOT increase it) asking us which hospitals will close!!!!

Now that is a definition of IRONY!!!!!

Would it be unprofessional to ask how many teachers have you personally put out of work in your years as a tax specialist Rebecca???

If the scheme works and has 'HMRC approval' then it works and has 'HMRC approval'.

I don't claim to know everything about tax law but the article is my opinion appears blatently biased against a scheme that i would genuinely be interested in hearing more about.

Isn't that the role of tax accountants???????

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22nd Mar 2010 15:32

tit[***] for tat

Rebecca, surely if HMRC are trying to put all one man band Ltd cos and self-employed onto PAYE then it is only right that there are schemes to allow PAYE tax payers to become self-employed.

The crux of the matter is that if the contract for services is worded correctly and both parties adher to the contract then that will withstand any challenge from HMRC or employment tribunals. This is not a new occurance.

I do not believe that if HMRC lost out on NIC schools would close. HMRC would actually gain more money because the self-employed would work harder to earn more so more tax would be paid. In other words you increase the size of the pie.

Now would it be possible for CIS subbies to work on a commission only basis? That really would upset HMRC. Steam from Mr. Brown's nostrils?

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22nd Mar 2010 15:57

commission only

It is worth looking back to the original article - HMRC said that they would NOT approve such a scheme in principle (and indeed one would not expect them to do so).

It is possible that an employee might want to switch to a commission only basis, but it seems pretty unlikely. Also anyone being paid on commission for selling X's products (and, presumably, nobody else's) is tied in fairly closely to X. As a car salesman paid commission only do you set the possible price yourself ?  I think not.

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By Anonymous
22nd Mar 2010 16:13


WHAT CIS ! Most (well quite a few) have gone completely underground ! and as there is no enforcement got away with it ! Those that had subbies on the books have gone out of business as they were unable to compete, hmrc expect a backlash !

fathom that one !

Why bother paying these agents anything when you can form a limited company on the web trade for a couple of years, never file accounts, companies house will strike you off and HMRC will close the file ! No Nic tax or Vat, Hmrc will not bother you either. Possibly illegal ! but with no enforcement works a treat !


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By Anonymous
22nd Mar 2010 16:29

Commission only ? or piece rate ?

Waitresses ? nat min wage get lost ! ?

Hairdressers ?

Lorry drivers ?

I can feel some unworkable legislation coming on !

There has to be some balance in the force ! instead we have chaos ! May be it will all work out to be order in the end.




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By Anonymous
22nd Mar 2010 16:32

A new scheme claims HMRC approval

Paying employees commission only is now not possible.  But if they truly tick all the boxes of being self employed then I welcome a product that assists me in saving money in a legal manner.  Who wouldn’t??????????

 This is my first comment on a forum of this nature and I felt compelled to comment purely as a result of the one sided and very handed nature of the original thread by Rebecca.  Maybe you should take the time to investigate what it is the company does before slamming it so severely?!

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22nd Mar 2010 17:02

Lee Glasar - Managing Director of TMS

I wanted to take this opportunity to clarify and respond to a couple of points that you have raised in your comment.

You suggest that employees will not have a choice in whether they change status.  To clarify, both existing and new employees are offered our services as an option with everyone made fully aware of the detail of the new arrangement. Neither we nor their employer force this upon anyone.   To further ensure compliance, we provide each independent consultant access to a chartered accountant who will act for them on general advice and support in completing the necessary paperwork that being self employed demands, including self assessment returns.   


You also rightly raise the issue of ‘the detail’.  We go to great lengths to put all parties on notice that our 'contract for services' is maintained to ensure ongoing compliance.  We monitor each relationship through our compliance officers

who remain in constant contact with both  parties ensuring neither revert to the old relationship.  This step is critical.


If you have any more queries about the service please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected] 


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22nd Mar 2010 17:13

Lee Glassar - Managing Director of TMS

You ask whether ‘each case will be considered on its merits’.   The answer is yes.  We make a separate submission to HMRC for each company we take on as a client. Each relationship must be approved by the HMRC on its own merits.  The HMRC has to date approved each of the cases that we have submitted demonstrating that our contract for services is supported by the HMRC. 




Once the client is approved and signed up we discuss employment rights implications with the individual, demonstrate to them how we work and then if they wish to proceed introduce them to their own chartered accountant to answer any further queries they might have, as well as to complete their self assessment forms for them.



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By Anonymous
22nd Mar 2010 17:54


That sounds not only very straight forward but that it is very upfront with HMRC so nobody is pulling the wool over any bodies eyes. Well done.

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23rd Mar 2010 08:48

Disguised employee ...?

After all the hoo-ha with IR35, it does seem rather unlikely that HMRC would not go after this scheme in some way.

After all, they manage to 'get' contract workers who do work for several clients, strive not to work like an employee, etc, under the IR35 system - so how a "Friday to Monday" self-employed person, with what appears to be the Class4 equivalent of the MSC, would escape, I don't know ...

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23rd Mar 2010 09:17

Lee Glassar - Managing Director of TMS

Our professional team, made up of internationally renouned firms, spent months testing our concept from attack due to IR35, MSC, Agency Legislation and a host of other situations.  We are not running between the cracks here.  We spent 2 years creating a ground braking 'contract for services' that is consistant with self employed status.

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23rd Mar 2010 09:25


It's the "contract for services" that makes the difference. It has to worded correctly and strictly adhered to by both parties. As the contract is a legal document HMRC have to approve. What the approval scheme does though is bring any tax avoidance measure to HMRC's attention so they don't have to go looking.

My own feeling is that HMRC have shot themselves in the foot by asking to approve schemes. Prior to their approval they were having a bit of success where contractors and subbies were giving different statements to HMRC's enquiries. Now before both parties sign, the subbie is made completely aware of what is required.

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23rd Mar 2010 09:25

Coming back on a few comments

I'm pleased that my article has stimulated much debate. I thought I would come back on a few points as a number of you have posed questions and points that I'd like to rejoin.

First to the anon who accused me of sour grapes and irony - not at all, I was just posing the intellectual question. I don't advise (or lecture on) artificial avoidance under any circumstances. My role as an adviser is to keep my client abreast of current tax developments and advise him what the tax consequences of certain business decisions are and how to structure those decisions effectively for tax purposes. We all differ in how we view delivering tax advice, but my own view is "just because something is legal / do-able it doesn't mean you have to do it". We have been round and round the "moral vs legal" argument on this site, and I'm not afraid to stand up and express my own views in the interests of wider debate. Not offended by your comment but just wanted to correct you.

I really wanted to promote a debate that looks at the wider picture. OK Government should "change the law if they don't want us to do it" but we have been down this path for a while and I thought a fresh look might be sensible. If you don't pay the money has to come from someone else or cuts will have to be made - your views on those alternatives can be expressed on polling day, but mature debate is what we need about what I see as artificial avoidance. This is the tax tail wagging the business dog and I am uneasy about it.

Secondly to johnjenkins. I agree absolutely John. What the Treasury are planning to do in the construction sector is absolutely on a par with this - I did consider a "compare and contrast" = "both sides are as bad as the other" in this article but it was getting over long - and I did give the consultation on "False Employment" quite a bit of air time last week. But I see these as opposite sides of the same coin. Each party trying to "rig" the line between self employed and employed for financial gain. No doubt about in my mind. I have been through the list of builders that have passed through my hands (so to speak) in 25 years in practice and there is no doubt in my mind that many of them would be on PAYE at some time or another under these rules. They are NOT employees, they are genuinely running a business on their own account.

So is it time to do away with the distinction? Or (my long favourite) create a category between the two - a freelancer - with a tax burden somewhere between the two, maybe with certain rights but not full employment rights. No IR35 (abolish it), no mucking about with limited companies etc, but a "third way" (oh dear). I think we need freelancers in a modern economy - mobile skills etc. One downside is that it introduces two boundaries to police rather than one. Any thoughts?

What was very interesting to me was the spread of opinion expressed in the article.

And finally to Lee - I don't dispute that your company has worked hard and professionally with some major firms in developing this product. What I wanted to do is raise the question in members' minds as to where we as a profession are heading with this - on a wider scale. To deny the consequences of hard core tax avoidance is naive and smacks of the very view I challenge - "Let someone else pay". And to recognise that there are some in the market place who do not offer a well researched careful service. To the comments who spoke in your defence - I'm not arguing that this should not be allowed - by all means contact TMS if you want to offer the service to your clients.

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23rd Mar 2010 10:08

If only life were that simple

I start from the same position as Rebecca.

I note the naivity of certain comments above which seem to imply that all claims in an advert or promotional piece of PR can be automatically believed. And also those who wish that certain tax outcomes were certainties when experience reveals that this is not the case.

I note what Lee Glassar claims although he appears to be neither an accountant nor an experienced tax professional. His online profile refers to his background "in the real estate sector for over 25 years both as an agent & principal."  His chosen industry is 'financial services'. 

If I were an employer I would be very wary of any 'scheme' like this that did not have the evident support of an employment law expert and some sort of tax sign off from a reputable tax advisory/accountancy firm. TMS website purports to contain a testimonial from a leading law firm. However a closer reading reveals that there is no testimonial at all, simply an assertion by TMS that the lawyers consider that "the contract that has been produced by TMS's professional team operates as a contract for services."  The other testimonials attest to Lee Glasser's personal qualities. One from "BDO International" (sic) is "coming very soon". 

My general view, whenever a scheme promoter claims HMRC 'approval', is that the promoter is at best naive and perhaps unaware of how the tax system and HMRC in particular operate. At worst (and I'm NOT suggestiing this is the case here) such claims are intended to deceive. In any event such claims always ring warning bells in my mind.

If I were an employee I would think very carefully before willingly giving up my employment rights and my prospective entitlement to receipt of benefits in the event of losing my job. I note the suggestion that employees should be given the option whether to join such a scheme. In practice I would expect them to come under pressure to do so. And if, at a later date, their 'employer' dispenses with their services at short notice and they approach an employment lawyer what will they be advised?

Like many superficially attractive tax schemes this is going to appeal most to the naive and greedy who are keen to simply go with the promotional puff, regardless of the risks, realities and inevitable adverse consequences.

I note that, in an update to the original post, as I would have anticipated:

An HMRC spokesperson said: "HMRC does not give approval to specific business models. In some circumstances, we do provide advice on the tax and National Insurance implications of arrangements when asked to do so. In such circumstances, we look at the facts surrounding that particular example, but as circumstances vary, HMRC would not give that model approval.

Each to their own.

Mark Lee




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By Anonymous
23rd Mar 2010 10:40


Nothing to worry about there, then.  A fool scheme for fools.  And HMRC will just sort it out with all the rest of their many chores and it will all resolve itself before too long.

I do not understand this comment, though: "So maybe I’ll challenge the company marketing the scheme to nominate me a hospital which should close, or the names of the nurses to sack, as a result of their scheme."

That really is a strange thing to say. 

When I pay my accountant to deal with my tax affairs, I want him/her firmly focused with the (1929) words of Lord Clyde tatooed on the inside of his eyelids: "No man in this country is under the least obligation, moral or otherwise, so as to arrange his legal relations to his business or to his property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel into his store". 

To repeat: "No man ... is under the least obligation, moral or otherwise..."  And that is the law!

Obviously one's accounts have to include all the legal requirements when preparing accounts etc, which is all part of the service for which I would pay an accountant.  BUT, I certainly do not want to hear any soppy ideas about keeping hospitals open and preventing nurses from redundancy.  Donations are not his/her domain, AT ALL.  Comments like that would be a noisy alarm bell for any business owner!

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23rd Mar 2010 10:50

Lee Glassar - Managing Director of TMS

Mr Lee

There's no need to take this to a personal level and surely this simply shows you're a commentator rather than an activist.  Whilst I have a 25 year plus career in global commercial activities, on your Linked In profile you describe your career as follows -"I have a portfolio career and it currently has a gap! I'd be interested in exploring opportunities where I could provide a valuable contribution"

I am not an accountant and therefore I retained the services of the very best employment accountants and employment lawyers money could buy.  They made the submission.  They also made it very clear to me early on that my concept is not a scheme and just because you do not understand how I can claim to do what i do doesn't simply mean it can't be done. 

We've been to over a hundred accountants with our concept and are also providers to Probiz.  To add to this, BDO have recommended us to some of their clients. 

All the commentary, whether positve or negative, has been worthy of note thus far aside from yours.  A tax accountant is surely continually searching for opportunities for his or her client to legitimately save money.  A tax commentator seems to only be looking to create negative spin.  Might i respectfully suggest that if you had clients who had instructed you to seek out savings for them that you would view my concept rather differently.

Those who can't appear on BBC.  Thanks for your input.

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23rd Mar 2010 11:30

The largest possible shovel

There is a world of difference between "allowing the taxman to take the maximum" which is what you have quoted, and artificially entering into transactions, structures and arrangements which have no basis in commercial sense other than to reduce the tax bill. I am not in favour of paying the "maximum amount of tax", but I am in favour of good context sensitive tax advice which is relevant to the business. I'm not going to go round the houses in a complex or artificial arrangement to save tax, but if you are considering a specific course of action, I'll advise you how best to go about it - like buy the equipment you are planning to purchase before the 40% FYA expires.

If you (as a client) instruct me to use any available techniques to save you tax I shall outline the advice I am able to give and be very clear with you about its limitations and what I will not advise you on - in the same way as I would send you to someone else for detailed advice on share schemes. I am not imposing a moral choice on you, but I am a business woman and I have a right to deliver such services and advice as I choose to willing buyers. Nobody can compel me to sell artificial tax avoidance schemes, not even my clients. I can refer them to others, should they wish for a more aggressive approach. If my business suffers as a result that's my choice. I'll live.

I believe very strongly that as individuals we should engage in the debate about "who will pay?", now more than ever, and I am depressed to be frank by the multitude who say "not me - let someone else". We are in a mess; it's too late to apportion blame, the only way is forward. Who, if not me? My children? My OAP parents? My point about hospitals is that all decisions have consequences, and some might be uncomfortable, but one way or another this has to be sorted out. If it is not our place as intelligent professionals with insight into the fiscal mechanisms to engage in debate or hold a view about this, then I would ask who will? It still sounds to me like "I don't care, let someone else pay", which is only a step up from "Let the Government pay". Intelligent comment?

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23rd Mar 2010 11:58


It just goes to show how fed up everyone is with the unfairness of the Government's tax policy. Tax avoidance is not illegal, and given the forthcoming rise in NICs it is hardly surprising that employers are looking for alternatives to reduce their costs. If you are commission based then you may as well have the flexible advantage of being self-employed to provide some reward for your risk.

Perhaps if direct tax was fair and we, say paid more in VAT this type of tax planning would be unnecessary. It does not help discovering that such a large amount of MPs and Lords are on the fiddle and apparently the Lords are also above the law.

Virtual tax know how and support:

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23rd Mar 2010 12:31

Lee - No need for personal attacks and abuse

Lee, if you read further into my LinkedIn profile you will note that I have a 25 plus year career in practice as a tax adviser.  I chose to stop giving tax advice myself in part because of frustrations around the whole concept of tax schemes. I wrote about this for Taxation magazine. Since then I have established a virtual network of tax advisers across the UK - each of whom provides tax advice to accountants who know their limitations and who want some expert support and input on an ad-hoc basis. Yes, I also write, speak, blog and commentate on tax issues - from a position, I hope, of relevant knowledge and experience given my background.

Incidentally I was a partner at BDO for a few years and I retain a lot of respect and admiration for the firm. I would guess that they have not had any recent involvement with your scheme. I would also bet that they would advise anyone considering your scheme should undertake their own due diligence by reference to specific facts and circumstances - as would any informed accountant or tax adviser - before going ahead.  Even more so given the most recent HMRC statement about the scheme.

Mark Lee

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23rd Mar 2010 12:46


there is no such entity as "artificial tax avoidance". You have been listening to too much Government spin.

I have to pose the question. Why do you and others not trust the working population to sort out their own ways of paying their tax liabilities?

If HMRC need more money all they need do is increase basic rate instead of fiddling about trying to re-catogorise the self-employed.

Lets face it not everybody wants to be self-employed. Would civil servants? A lot of tax payers like the perks that come with PAYE. I'm sure some of us sometimes think "is it worth it". Don't forget the self-employed (again there is no such entity as "false self-employed") have to get the work, do the work, then get paid, whereas the PAYE sit back and wait for the transfer to hit the bank.

Self-employment should be up to the individual, that way you will get a good balance without the niggles. Then HMRC can concentrate on making sure the self-employed pay the "RIGHT" amount of tax.


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23rd Mar 2010 12:50

Can we please avoid personal slights...

...particularly when they are somewhat ill-informed.

We're very glad you've joined the site to participate in the debate that your commission-only self-employed scheme has triggered on the site, Mr Glassar. Welcome to our community - however, if you'd read our terms and conditions, you'll see they require people not to attack others' integrity or professionalism. On most occasions, this type of post would get pulled from the site and the poster warned.

However, I note that Mark Lee also voiced some doutbs about the bona fides of the people involved in the TMS scheme, so since you are responding in kind in this instance we have allowed your comment to remain. However, both of you should be advised to be careful about looking at LinkedIn and making a snap judgement about other people on that basis. A closer reading of Mark's CV and his various blogs should have established fairly quickly that he is a tax expert of long standing (who probably still has quite a few mates in his old firm of BDO Stoy Hayward, not to mention Chilterns), who also happens to be a former chairman of the ICAEW Tax Faculty.

As he has explained to me, Mark has chosen to step back from the front line to set up and manage the Tax Adviser's Network, which has recruited many accountants who probably know and respect him because of his extensive experience in this field.

It's your choice whether you decide to leave your comment as originally posted. If you decide it might be better to remove the comment as posted, you can click the link to delete it. If you choose that course of action, I'll also remove this post drawing attention to it.

John Stokdyk, Editor,

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23rd Mar 2010 12:48

No John

I have seen schemes and arrangements which have absolutely no purpose than to reduce the tax bill. Absolutely no commercial basis for them, often circular (or as near as makes no difference) highly contrived. This is not Government spin, it is a question of limits. Are you an adviser who will advocate absolutely anything in a no holds barred approach or not? If so, are you happy with the consequences and would you like to nominate someone to pay instead. By the way HMRC does not decide how much money "they need". That's the Government's job.

Here's an example. A widely marketed scheme involved donating large sums to charities and claiming gift aid tax relief. The charity claimed a tax refund under the gift aid scheme. Then (and possibly over a period of time, and certainly in a convoluted way) the donation was returned to the "donor". This was sold like billy-oh for a while until it was shut down by legislation in 2006.

That is the type of behaviour that makes me embarrassed to be an accountant. (Please note - as far as I know no large well known charities were ever involved in this scam).

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23rd Mar 2010 13:13

Lee Glassar - Managing Director of TMS

Mr Stokdyk, I note your comments and would confirm i have read your site's terms and conditions and i sincerely apologise if you feel these were breeched by my post.  As you correctly state i was in fact defending my company as well as my own credentials, which for some reason were brought into question, despite me mentioning I formed a professional team of repute for this venture rather than simply came up with this idea alone, and i therefore firmly believe was just in my defence and feel your warning should be directed at Mr Lee rather than myself who took this extremely interesting and varied debate to a different level.

I don't doubt Mr Lee's CV.  However, mine shouldn't be doubted either and what i lack in experience in this field I more than make up for by have the professional team around me.

That being said, if Mr Lee would like to retract his original comment i would being will to do the same as I appreciate that this thread should not be about me or Mr Lee.

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23rd Mar 2010 13:59

I'm confused

I was very careful in what I posted initially. Checking back, as I thought, I simply highlighted Lee Glassar's own description of his expertise in the context of whether or not he is an accountant or tax adviser. I made no comment and simply allowed readers to draw their own conclusions. What is there to retract?

On the contrary he did initially question my credentials but now states that he doesn't, after all, doubt my CV (or by definition my credentials). That's fine by me.

I did also check his company's website and made some factual observations by reference thereto - in the context of the scheme in question and in particular as to whether there was any reference to the top legal or tax advice that I would have expected.

Mark Lee


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23rd Mar 2010 14:52

The Wrangling: a Possible Lesson?

perhaps next time, no specific companies should be mentioned, but just generic principles, or problems. I feel that Mr. Glassar and TMS should not be slighted (however true concerns may, or may not be), unless comments are justified by having been proven in court. In this way, one would only be mentioning information that is already public. Furthermore, as the Terms & Conditions of this site state: all should be treated with professional respect. I think this should be extended to those who are not members of this site if we are going to talk about them here: then they won't have to join, in order to defend themselves. 

I must say, this has been a blessing in disguise for TMS. Now loads of members will be checking out his website and ideas. If those of us who disagree with his scheme continue to speak of him, he just gets more publicity, and I think he is then entitled to respond out of fairness. Therefore, I think TMS and Mr. Glassar shouldn't be discussed in particular any more. It would be unfair to other companies who advertise on this website and have (presumably) paid for the priviledge!

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By Anonymous
23rd Mar 2010 15:28


Whether you like it or not, marketed schemes of this nature lead to terms like avoision.

I agree with Rebecca and Mark that some fall wide of the mark and some advisers get all excited.

There is, I believe, a difference between acceptable behaviour and that detrimental to our society (this applies to both sides of the fence) when the rules are bent to breaking point it does not do anyone any good.

Part of our professional knowledge, judgement and skill is taking into account the spirit of the law.

This scheme will perhaps work because HMRC have no resources or ability to police it, so a legislative sledge hammer will be used to crack a nut as usual.

Recent legislation has in general been a complete disaster, IR35, CIS come to mind as biggies, there has been no enforcement and those that complied have been left uncompetitive.

It really is quite distressing witness reputable business people suffering while the sharks prosper.

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23rd Mar 2010 16:09

You said it

Rebecca. To reduce your outgoings whether it by claiming discounts or finding ways of reducing your tax bill is a commercial decision.

You seem to think it is wrong for tax payers to think up ways and means of keeping more of their hard earned money on the pretext that the more the tax payer has the less the Government (HMRC) has to spend.

I do understand your concerns that some tax avoidance schemes can be entertaining, however as long as they are legal I see no problem.

Personally, I advise clients that whatever they do should be for the sake of the business and not just for tax saving purposes, as sometimes the tax saving measures (e.g. buying new plant to claim 100% allowance when not needed) can have an adverse effect on the business.

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By thacca
29th Mar 2010 09:37

On the moral point

I haven't read all the points above, but did pick up on the moral points. It is impossible (for me) to take a moral view on tax when: MP's are fiddling their expenses, describing them selves as cab's for hire and the ex PM appears to have done a 'dodgey' oil deal for a million pound; the list of unfairnesses could go on for some time so I will leave it there.

It would appear that if you take the moral point you'll be the only 'fool' in this country as every one else is looking out for themselves. Which leads me the conclusion that as long as it's advoidance and not evasion then it's fair game.





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By Anonymous
29th Mar 2010 10:22

evasion and avoidance

The revenue think avoidance is evasion, the taxpayers think evasion is avoidance and the bit missing in the middle is a grey area !

I wish I had never become an accountant.

Unfortunately I cannot disagree with the above comment, being an honest fool I am destined to live in poverty!

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