HMRC cracks down on misleading tax avoidance schemes

2nd December 2020

HMRC and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have launched a new action to cut out misleading marketing of tax avoidance schemes.

The joint enforcement aims to protect people from being presented with false advertising which may tempt them into tax avoidance.

The notice requires promoters to be clear about the potential consequences of tax avoidance in any online advertising.

Immediate sanctions include having paid advertising removed from search engines, alongside follow-up compliance action which includes a referral to Trading Standards.

Jim Harra, chief executive of HMRC, said:

“We’re doing our part to close down these schemes and make it difficult for promoters, but we need the public to play their part too.

“You really don’t need to be a tax expert to spot an avoidance scheme – anything that sounds too good to be true almost certainly is, and anything which claims you can take home, say, 90% of your pay, or asks you to sign up to loans from an offshore trust just so you can be paid, is something to steer clear of.”

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