Tax advisers’ offices raided by HMRC over gilt strip schemes

A firm of tax advisers has been raided by HM Revenue & Customs officials
investigating a scheme involving the use of gilt strip bonds.

Tax Group
, based in Leeds and London, was targeted by officials who
also visited a number of the firm’s clients.

In an unusual step Mercury flagged up the raid on its own website to
highlight what it described as ‘sledgehammer tactics’ by HMRC in addition to
claims that it had co-operated fully in the investigation.

‘Having been left with the feeling that the HMRC have used sledgehammer
tactics, we are taking advice on our response, including compensation if
appropriate,’ said a statement by the firm on its website. ‘At present we
continue to co-operate fully with HMRC.’

Partners at the firm were questioned by HMRC on 13 November after both the
firm’s offices were visited.

Gilt strip tax schemes involved the purchase and sale of gilts where an
expense was claimed on the purchase and relief on its gains.

The schemes were stamped out by the government in 2004, and were classed as
being the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of it leading to
the introduction of the tax avoidance disclosure regime.

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