A union for contractors and self-employed consultants has expressed its alarm
at reports that HMRC has issued guidelines to tax inspectors encouraging them to
clamp down on tax avoidance.
The Professional Contractors Group (PCG), which represents freelancers,
contractors and consultants in the UK, told of their “deep concern” over an
article appearing in the Daily Telegraph earlier this week titled “Tax
inspectors to clamp down on people ‘before they break law’.”
Chris Bryce, Chairman of PCG said: “Clearly if this is a new departure for
HMRC we are very concerned. HMRC must act within the law of the land. Our legal
advice is that if HMRC ever did take anything to court on these grounds it would
be thrown out and fined heavily.”
He added: “The suggestion that tax inspectors should pursue people who have
arranged their financial affairs in perfectly legal ways based on a
retrospective analysis of Parliament’s collective thinking is outrageous.
Minimising one’s tax bill is a perfectly legal and proper course of action.
These new guidelines, if true, strike one as Orwellian in the extreme.”
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