Accountants who promote aggressive tax avoidance schemes should face criminal prosecution, according to a Conservative MP.
Charlie Elphicke, the MP for Dover and a former tax lawyer, told the Times newspaper that he has tabled a series of amendments to the Finance Bill that would make it illegal to help clients to invest in schemes designed to avoid tax.
Elphicke said he wanted to start a discussion about the morality of tax avoidance, the Times reported.
His comments reflect growing political support to take tougher action against tax avoidance, which unlike tax evasion, is legal but increasingly restricted by new laws.
In the March Budget, Chancellor George Osborne said taxpayers will have to pay upfront if their tax avoidance scheme has been registered under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS), which was introduced in 2004.
Individuals and businesses using avoidance schemes that fall under the General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR), introduced in July 2013, will also have to pay their tax upfront.
About Nick Huber
I’m a specialist business journalist and have a particular interest in tax and technology.