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HMRC fetches almost £1bn via APNs

The last 12 months have seen HMRC’s Large Business Directorate collect some £943m from large firms via Accelerated Payment Notices (APNs), says global lawyers Pinsent Masons.

Businesses and individuals are given APNs if they are under suspicion of tax avoidance. They are regarded as controversial due to having been assigned without a right to appeal. HMRC has been forced to withdraw several APNs after numerous legal challenges, such as judicial review.

Pinsent Masons believes the number of assigned APNs to be high and, as a result, shines a spotlight on tax avoidance, most notably via Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs), which are trusts established either offshore or in the United Kingdom to store cash, along with any other assets. Such schemes do not break any laws, but they are sometimes used to decrease NI contributions and income tax, as well as generate reductions in corporation tax for money paid into the trust.

Pinsent Masons partner Heather Self said:

“The amount collected from large businesses via APNs is surprisingly high – and a signal that HMRC is continuing to employ the tool widely.

“The tax will relate to a wide range of schemes and arrangements utilised by large businesses over recent years to reduce corporation tax payments.”

HMRC is employing numerous methods to halt tax avoidance schemes and is clearly wanting to send a message to all businesses in the UK. Any firm would be foolish to attempt tax avoidance in the current climate and turning to an accountant in the Wirral would be a wise move for any business to ensure that their books do not call attention to HMRC.

Posted by Louise
May 4, 2017

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