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2015 Autumn Statement – Anti-avoidance and evasion

Private Clients - 25 Nov 2015

A range of new anti-avoidance and evasion measures were announced. These focus on what the government considers to be abusive practices at both individual and corporate levels.

  • Offshore Activity

- New civil penalties for offshore tax evaders. In addition to ‘naming and shaming’, the new penalty will be linked to the value of the asset on which tax was evaded.

- New civil penalties for third parties who enable offshore tax evasion, including ‘naming and shaming’.

- Consultation on introducing a requirement to “correct past offshore tax non-compliance”.

  • General Anti-Abuse Rule (“GAAR”)

- A new penalty equal to 60% of tax due will be levied on cases successfully tackled by the GAAR.

- The GAAR only applies to arrangements entered into on or after 17 July 2013. Consequently HMRC’s earliest enquires involving a GAAR aspect are probably still works in progress. It would seem that this new penalty is being introduced in time for when the first enquiries with a GAAR aspect are resolved in HMRC’s favour.

  • Other areas of perceived avoidance to be tackled are companies holding intangible fixed assets through a partnership structure and tax advantages gained through capital allowance value fixing.

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