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HMRC to enact tough crackdown on tax avoidance – could you be impacted?

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HMRC, or HM Revenue and Customs as it is formally known, is responsible for ensuring Britons deal with their tax affairs on a regular basis. While the Revenue helps Britons to pay their taxes, it is also responsible for ensuring there is fairness in the system. In its most recent announcement, spearheaded by the Treasury, it seems the tax system is set for changes in this regard.

The Government’s inaugural Tax Day has laid out several economic plans, but cracking down on tax avoidance is a central plan.

The key document has informed Britons there are to be a wide range of consultations taking place in the coming months to address the issue of tax avoidance.

At present, the Government has stated, the tax gap stands at a record low of 4.7 percent.

However, there may be scope to reduce this further, an aim which can be achieved through looking at tax avoidance, evasion and other forms of non-compliance.

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However, the Government has been insistent the measure will be hard-hitting for those who are avoiding tax, and will not affect individuals who are being honest about their affairs.

Also on the list is a reevaluation of disguised remuneration tax avoidance – schemes where people can avoid paying tax on income.

This can occur when money is paid out through so-called ‘loans’ in ways which should be non-taxable.

The Government is now set to publish a summary of responses after putting out a call for evidence in 2020.

This call for evidence formed part of a response to recommendations which were laid out in an Independent Loan Charge review.

Finally, and perhaps the policy which may affect the most Britons, is the HMRC ‘No Safe Haven Strategy’.

This is the Revenue’s way of “ensuring taxpayers comply with their UK tax obligations, regardless of where their income or gains are made”.

This means no Briton will be safe from avoiding tax in ways which are technically considered to be legal.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jesse Norman, commented on the matter.

He said: “We are making these announcements in order to increase the transparency, discipline and accessibility of tax policymaking.

“These measures will help us to upgrade and digitise the UK tax system, tackle tax avoidance and fraud, among other things.

“By grouping them together, we want to give Members of Parliament, tax professionals and other stakeholders a better opportunity to scrutinise them.”

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