Avoidance scheme changes
HMRC has published a new list of almost 1,200 tax avoidance schemes whose users may be required to make an upfront payment of tax. New provisions in the Finance Bill 2014, which is expected to receive Royal Assent later this month, will give HMRC the power to demand upfront payment of any disputed tax associated with avoidance schemes by issuing an accelerated payment notice.
This means users of schemes with a reference number on the list may receive a notice to make an upfront payment of tax. However, publication of a scheme number on the list does not mean an accelerated payment notice will be issued straight away. HMRC has also confirmed that they will write to users of schemes with a reference number before issuing a notice to pay.
The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said:
‘Most people pay the tax that is due, when it is due, so it unacceptable that a minority seek to hold on to the tax they should pay by using avoidance schemes. Accelerated payments will tackle the small minority of taxpayers who are currently able to put off paying tax, sometimes for several years. This will put them on the same footing as the majority of taxpayers who pay their tax up front.’
Taxpayers will be able to continue to make their case to the tribunal or court and, if successful, their money will be returned by HMRC with interest.