Strengthening the sanctions for tax avoidance response
ICAS issues its response to the HMRC consultation on 'Strengthening the Sanctions for Tax Avoidance.'
Response to 'Strengthening the sanctions for tax avoidance'
The HMRC consultation proposes new powers for HMRC to deal with taxpayers who use tax avoidance schemes on a regular basis, including the power to publicise the details of these individuals.
The consultation also proposes the introduction of penalties for taxpayers who are challenged under the General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR).
The ICAS response notes that members remain to be convinced that further anti-avoidance legislation in these areas is justified or necessary.
HMRC already has significant powers at its disposal to deal with taxpayers who do not comply with their legal obligations.
The foreword to the consultation document notes that there have been 42 changes to tax law since 2010 to make strategic changes, and deter and prevent tax avoidance.
ICAS would like to see these measures evaluated post implementation before a decision to introduce new legislation is taken.
ICAS also challenges the "naming and shaming" of taxpayers as an appropriate response and questions the need for GAAR penalties when there have been no cases on the GAAR since its introduction. The response also comments on the need to define the terms "tax avoidance" and "tax evasion" to give clarity and increase public understanding of the UK tax system.
Anne-Marie Roberts is ICAS Assistant Director of Taxation.