Educate your clients about tax avoidance to avoid HMRC’s crackdown

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Source: accountancy, 29 September 2017

“It’s possible that some of your clients won’t have the first clue about tax avoidance or its implications. Some of them may have a little knowledge but be working on the assumption that it’s all legal and above board. Educating them on the tax avoidance basics is a priority.”

“Crucial points to share

  1. HMRC is getting tough – any scheme that claims to help businesses reduce their tax liability is subject to investigation.
  2. It can be hard to recognise a tax avoidance scheme, but the government advises people to be wary of schemes that sound too good to be true, those that offer seemingly huge benefits with very little cost to you, and anything that offers payment in the form of a loan that you won’t be asked to pay back. Any scheme that requires moving money out of the country should definitely set those alarm bells ringing.
  3. Clients may come across promoters who claim that having a Scheme Reference Number (SRN) shows that they are HMRC approved. They aren’t, and a world of trouble is likely waiting for anyone who engages with such a scheme.
  4. Inform clients that responsibility lies with them. HMRC has made it clear that ignorance or misunderstanding are not going to be accepted as get-out-of-jail-free cards – whether you entered into a tax avoidance scheme by accident or with full knowledge, you’ll have to pay the price.”

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