Autumn Statement continues tax crackdown

The 2014 Autumn Statement has contained new measures designed to continue the crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion, which could lead to more tax investigations.

The Autumn Statement document, published on 3 December, warns that the government will “continue to be relentless in tackling avoidance and aggressive tax planning where it arises within the UK”.

The government has already this year introduced accelerated payments of tax for schemes notified to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) regime. Accelerated payments allow HMRC to demand upfront payment of tax for DOTAS schemes disputed by HMRC.

The Autumn Statement papers say: “The government is determined that those involved in avoidance schemes must continue to disclose their use of those schemes. The government will therefore strengthen the…DOTAS regime, and establish a DOTAS taskforce to ensure that avoiders cannot circumvent the DOTAS rules.”

In another measure, HMRC will consult in early 2015 on introducing further deterrents for serial tax avoiders and on penalties for tax avoidance cases where the General Anti-Abuse Rule applies. The government’s focusing on maximising tax revenue through measures such as those included in the Autumn Statement is likely to create an enhanced risk of tax investigations.

With this in mind, any taxpayer concerned about their own tax affairs, and who believes they might become subject to a tax investigation, would be wise to seek expert advice. Our specialists at Taxation-Investigation can provide specialist advice to clarify the situation and on the options available, so that the taxpayer can make informed decisions about the best way forward. We can also assist in mitigating outcomes or presenting a robust defence where tax affairs are in order.

For more information, please contact us.