John Whiting, the CIoT’s tax policy chief, has said the tax profession are
behind the government’s new crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion.
This comes against the backdrop of the taxman’s permanent secretary Dave
Hartnett branding some advisers “alchemists” for supposedly helping turn
clients’ income into capital to avoid paying tax.
“All right-minded tax advisers will welcome this increased emphasis on
tackling tax evasion. Tax evasion is not a victimless crime,” said Whiting.
“Cheating the revenue robs the Exchequer of the money the government need to
fund public services and makes us all suffer.”
The CIoT has long argued more effort needs to be put into investigating and
tackling people who seek to evade tax. Cutbacks at HMRC should not mean
lessening of efforts to tackle evasion, the institute said.
The institute recognised the government’s desire to further tackle avoidance,
calling for more of these type of practices to be classed as evasion.
But this should be put into the context of all the changes made in recent
years, including the disclosure regime and effective Targeted Anti-Avoidance
Rules, Whiting warned.
“Ever more complex rules risk becoming administratively burdensome for all
concerned and even creating further loopholes,” Whiting said.
“At the same time, a good deal of the supposed avoidance is dependent on
obfuscation and concealment and is better classed as evasion.”
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