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HMRC plans daily checks against “rogue” tax avoidance firms

DAILY CHECKS could soon be used by HM Revenue & Customs as a tool against firms offering aggressive tax avoidance schemes.

Officials hope the daily checks will nip abusive schemes in the bud, instead of challenging them when they reach an advanced stage, the Daily Mail reports.

Currently, anyone establishing an avoidance scheme must notify HMRC under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) facility within five days of starting to market it to clients.

HMRC can combat schemes in tribunals, but until a verdict is reached – in what can be lengthy court cases which often take months or years to be heard – advisers can continue to market their avoidance arrangements.

The latest proposals, however, will see the taxman granted powers to monitor accountants in real time, allowing them to see schemes as they are devised, and be blocked before they reach market should they be deemed too aggressive.

It is also hoped penalties will be introduced for users of schemes who do not pay up once defeated in the courts.

It is expected the proposals will go under consultation this week.

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