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Accountants to face tougher tax avoidance sanctions

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ACCOUNTANTS and advisers who offer aggressive tax avoidance schemes are to face tougher sanctions under a new penalty regime to be announced by HM Treasury.

Under proposals, which are expected to be announced later today, accountants could be fined up to 100% of the tax avoided by the client if the schemes are challenged.

The consultation is expected to look at the definition of a tax avoidance scheme and how penalties will be levied if a scheme is defeated in court. Currently, tax avoiders face significant financial costs when HMRC defeats schemes in court, but very little risk is borne by those who advised on or facilitated the avoidance,

“People who peddle tax avoidance schemes deny the country of vital tax revenue and this government is determined to make sure they pay. The vast majority of their schemes don’t work and can land their users in court facing large tax bills and other costs,” said Jane Ellison, the financial secretary to the Treasury.

Earlier this month, HMRC defeated a tax avoidance scheme used by a major brewery and marketed by EY, protecting around £30m in tax.

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