Gauke: Aggressive, contrived tax avoidance is anti-business

AGGRESSIVE TAX avoidance is “anti-business” and businesses should pay their full tax, said David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.

Writing in the Telegraph Gauke said that the government was committed to reducing the main rate of corporation tax to 23% by 2014, adding that it was “unfair” that while the “vast majority” of businesses pay their full tax bill, others try to avoid avoid doing so.

Gauke defended the Treasury’s decision last week to close two “aggressive” tax avoidance schemes used by Barclays, using retrospective legislation to close one of them.

“It was absolutely right that we acted swiftly earlier this week to close down two avoidance schemes that were being planned by a bank,” Gauke wrote. “That said, it was not an easy decision to use retrospective legislation in one of these cases, and I did not take it lightly. However, the potential tax loss from this particular scheme and the history of previous abuse in the area meant that it was a circumstance where the decision to change the law with full retrospective effect was justified.”


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