The £5,000 fines that will be handed to firms failing to disclose tax avoidance schemes are 'laughable', according to a former senior investigator at the Inland Revenue's Special Compliance Office.
The one-off fine will be backed up by a daily £600 penalty for continued non-compliance. But Martyn Bridges, of Bridges and Partners, a former senior investigator at the Revenue?s SCO, described the fines as ‘laughable’ and ‘derisory’.
Bridges said the people involved in marketing and selling the schemes make so much money, that they would probably just ‘take a chance’.
Details of the penalties were revealed in last week’s high-level summit between Treasury officials and representatives of the accountancy, legal and business worlds.
The heads of tax of all the Big Four firms attended the meeting, which was hosted by permanent secretary to the Treasury Gus O’Donnell.
Bridges said that to work effectively schemes would require a registration number on the tax return.
The Revenue’s computer systems will automatically pick up those returns for immediate review