CIOT: Naming and shaming avoidance promoters needs safeguards

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) notes that the Government intend to extend their current powers to publish the names of deliberate tax defaulters into the avoidance arena by taking powers to ‘name and shame’ certain promoters.

CIOT President, Patrick Stevens, said:

“The proposals for the possible ‘naming and shaming’ of promoters of tax avoidance schemes and ‘naming’ of banks that HMRC considers not to be complying with the Code of Practice on Taxation for Banks will pose some difficult issues around definition and implementation.

“The CIOT has previously raised concerns about promoters of schemes that have no realistic chance of success and suggested that ‘promoter penalties’, in a similar manner to misselling, may be appropriate.

“But the new proposals take this in a quite different direction. In all of these areas the difficulty is likely to be in determining the borderline. The CIOT understands and supports the Government’s need to crack down on abusive schemes, but there must be protection for innocent parties and normal tax planning.

“There need to be proper procedures to ensure it is only those who promote abusive schemes that are targeted. It must not be dependent solely on the view of HMRC, which could change over time; there must be certainty over what behaviour would be caught and an appeals process to ensure justice takes place. The Government also need to be sure that this will actually act as a deterrent – there is a risk that some of the promoters likely to get caught by this will see it as helpful free advertising.

“We are pleased to note that the Government propose to consult in this area.”

Notes to editors

1.       The Chartered Institute of Taxation

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) is the leading professional body in the United Kingdom concerned solely with taxation. The CIOT is an educational charity, promoting education and study of the administration and practice of taxation. One of our key aims is to work for a better, more efficient, tax system for all affected by it – taxpayers, their advisers and the authorities. The CIOT’s work covers all aspects of taxation, including direct and indirect taxes and duties. Through our Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG), the CIOT has a particular focus on improving the tax system, including tax credits and benefits, for the unrepresented taxpayer.

The CIOT draws on our members’ experience in private practice, commerce and industry, government and academia to improve tax administration and propose and explain how tax policy objectives can most effectively be achieved. We also link to, and draw on, similar leading professional tax bodies in other countries.  The CIOT’s comments and recommendations on tax issues are made in line with our charitable objectives: we are politically neutral in our work.

 

The CIOT’s 16,500 members have the practising title of ‘Chartered Tax Adviser’ and the designatory letters ‘CTA’, to represent the leading tax qualification. 

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George Crozier
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The Chartered Institute of Taxation
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The Association of Taxation Technicians
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