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HMRC crackdown on avoidance schemes

HMRC and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have come together to jointly target misleading marketing by promoters of tax avoidance schemes. HMRC and the ASA can jointly issue an Enforcement Notice to companies irresponsibly advertising tax arrangement schemes in a bid to clamp down on those breaking the rules.

The ASA is clear that advertisers are required to ensure that their marketing communications are legal, comply with the law and do not incite anyone to break it.  As such, ads for any arrangements or schemes which are illegal will break the ad rules as well as the law.

HMRC has also launched a new campaign titled ‘Tax avoidance: don’t get caught out’ warning and educating contractors about how to identify if they are being offered a tax avoidance scheme, and the pitfalls of using these schemes. The campaign urges taxpayers to help avoid unwittingly entering into arrangements that HMRC are likely to be seen as tax avoidance.

The campaign is asking the public to:

  • stop – don’t sign anything that you are uncomfortable with or don’t understand
  • challenge – check for warning signs. If you’re unsure, seek independent professional advice
  • protect – if you think you have been offered a tax avoidance scheme, report it to HMRC. Or if you need help getting out of one, contact us.

For example, a number of schemes have targeted workers returning to the National Health Service (NHS) to help respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

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