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HMRC continues its winning streak

HMRC continues its winning streak

Last year HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) gained new powers to demand that users of many tax avoidance schemes pay tax up front. This was a complete reversal of what previously happened, where scheme users would withhold any disputed tax payment until the protracted legal process had run its course.

In August 2014 HMRC started to issue notices to scheme users seeking “accelerated payment” of disputed tax. Thirteen months later HMRC announced they had sent out over 25,000 notices and collected £1bn. By March 2020 HMRC is expecting to have issued 64,000 notices and brought forward £5.5bn of tax payments.

Not surprisingly there have been legal challenges. Two film scheme users went to the High Court seeking a Judicial Review, but their case was rejected in late July. As the end of the tax year nears, HMRC’s success is a reminder that when it comes to tax planning, there is much to be said for using tried-and-tested plans rather than the more ‘exciting’, aggressive schemes.

The value of tax reliefs depends on your individual circumstances. Tax laws can change. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice.

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