Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Tax avoidance scheme users urged to get out or face significant tax bills

Users of tax avoidance schemes have been urged to quit them after HMRC has named scheme operators for the first time.

HMRC is using new powers to publicly name directors of tax avoidance promoting companies, with customers being warned to leave the firms’ schemes or risk large tax bills.

Adam Fathers is the director of tax avoidance promoter Saxonside Ltd while Stuart John Brooke is behind tax avoidance promoter The Umbrella Agency Ltd.

HMRC says naming the directors behind these schemes will alert the public to steer clear of any avoidance schemes promoted by other companies with the same directors.

Mary Aiston, HMRC’s Director of Counter Avoidance, said: “Naming the people behind tax avoidance schemes is a crucial step in helping customers stay clear of current and future schemes they promote.

“Our recent action should serve as a stark warning to promoters who think they can get away with peddling avoidance schemes. We will continue to use all the powers at our disposal to crack-down on promoters.

“Customers who think they’re involved in a tax avoidance scheme, should withdraw from the scheme and contact us for help as soon as possible.”

The Umbrella Agency Ltd and its director have been exposed for the first time today. HMRC has also exposed the director of the previously named promoter Saxonside Ltd, with users of both schemes warned to withdraw or risk large tax bills.

Both schemes’ users enter an employment contract with the promoter and are then paid the National Minimum Wage. Scheme users then receive the remainder of their income disguised in a bid to avoid paying Income Tax and National Insurance. Schemes such as these often wrongly promise their users can avoid National Insurance and Income Tax.

A total of 15 companies involved in promoting tax avoidance schemes have been named by HMRC, though this is not a complete list of all tax avoidance schemes currently being marketed, nor a complete list of all promoters, enablers, and suppliers.

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