Tax advisers face stiff penalties from HMRC

Tax advisers helping clients to avoid tax could face heavy penalties under proposed new rules under consideration by HM Revenue & Customs.

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Officials are reported to be observing the penalty regimes used in the US and other countries where advisers who arrange avoidance schemes can be hit by severe penalties for abusive of tax planning.

The Financial Times reports that HMRC is also investigating slapping increased penalties on errant taxpayers and more prosecutions for taxpayers suspected of dishonesty.

The move from HMRC comes after chancellor Gordon Brown’s crackdown on avoidance schemes, which allegedly reduce the treasury’s takings by an estimated £20bn-£30bn.

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