Watchdog: Tax dodgers must be named


taxTax dodgers should be "named and shamed" to discourage the rich and famous from exploiting legal loopholes to avoid paying billions to the Treasury, a spending watchdog has recommended.

Aggressive avoidance scheme promoters are "running rings" around HM Revenue and Customs, said the Public Accounts Committee.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
It warned that the taxman is losing the "game of cat and mouse" to clients and promoters as they deliberately take advantage of the time it takes HMRC to shut down a particular avoidance method to make their money.

HMRC must start publicly listing promoters and those who use their schemes, the committee said.

Last year comedian Jimmy Carr admitted to making a "terrible error of judgment" after it emerged he used a complex scheme to reduce his tax bill. The K2 tax-avoidance scheme Carr is said to have used enabled members to pay income tax rates as low as 1%.

PAC chairwoman Margaret Hodge said: "Promoters of 'boutique' tax avoidance schemes, like the one brought to our attention by the case of Jimmy Carr, are running rings around HMRC.

"They create schemes which exploit loopholes in legislation or abuse available tax reliefs such as those intended to encourage investment in British films, and then sign up as many clients as possible, knowing that it will take time for HMRC to change the law and shut the scheme down.

"Their clients can then take advantage of this window of opportunity to make a lot of money at the expense of the UK taxpayer, while the promoter simply moves on to a new scheme and repeats the process. It is a game of cat and mouse and HMRC is losing.

"It has allowed a system to evolve where the dice are loaded in favour of the promoters of tax avoidance schemes. The complexity of tax law creates opportunities for avoidance, there are no penalties to stop people promoting these schemes, and HMRC is ineffective in challenging promoters who are deliberately obstructive or deliberately sell schemes they know do not work.

"Promoters pocket their fees whether their schemes work or not."

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HMRC's biggest tax cheats of 2012
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Watchdog: Tax dodgers must be named

Jailed for evading over £4.5 million in VAT due on platinum trading.

Jailed for evading over £4.5 million in VAT due on platinum trading.

A gang which described over 20 million smuggled cigarettes on shipping documents as babies’ toys was jailed after a covert surveillance operation.

Sentenced in 2012: Phillip William Robinson, Vincent Waller, Phillip William Hall, Christopher John Burns and Andrius Kochanauskas – 13 years 1 month

A gang which described over 20 million smuggled cigarettes on shipping documents as babies’ toys was jailed after a covert surveillance operation.

Sentencing: Paul O’Meara, Robert Doran, Patrick Gray, Martin Cleland, Mark Sadgrove, Wayne Stock and Matthew Neale – 24 years 6 months

A gang which described over 20 million smuggled cigarettes on shipping documents as babies’ toys was jailed after a covert surveillance operation.

Sentencing: Paul O’Meara, Robert Doran, Patrick Gray, Martin Cleland, Mark Sadgrove, Wayne Stock and Matthew Neale – 24 years 6 months

Part of a criminal gang which set up a factory capable of making up to 625 million counterfeit cigarettes and five million pouches of fake hand rolling tobacco a year.

Part of a criminal gang which set up a factory capable of making up to 625 million counterfeit cigarettes and five million pouches of fake hand rolling tobacco a year.

Part of a criminal gang which set up a factory capable of making up to 625 million counterfeit cigarettes and five million pouches of fake hand rolling tobacco a year.

The gang set up a chain of bogus companies to trade fraudulently in EU emissions allowances.

Sentenced in 2012: Sandeep Singh Dosanjh, Navdeep Singh Gill and Ranjot Singh Chahal – 35 years

The gang set up a chain of bogus companies to trade fraudulently in EU emissions allowances.

Sentenced in 2012: Sandeep Singh Dosanjh, Navdeep Singh Gill and Ranjot Singh Chahal – 35 years

Roy Faichney, Managing Director of Vantis Tax Ltd, was sentenced to four years for his part in a fraudulent tax avoidance scheme which left charities and Exchequer out of pocket.

The gang claimed to have sold four million mobile phones worth £1.7 billion. However, in many cases the phones did not exist. In an attempt to make the trade appear legitimate, over 5,700 fake business transactions were created to claim large amounts of VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston – 10 years 6 months

The gang claimed to have sold four million mobile phones worth £1.7 billion. However, in many cases the phones did not exist. In an attempt to make the trade appear legitimate, over 5,700 fake business transactions were created to claim large amounts of VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston – 10 years 6 months

HMRC

The gang claimed to have sold four million mobile phones worth £1.7 billion. However, in many cases the phones did not exist. In an attempt to make the trade appear legitimate, over 5,700 fake business transactions were created to claim large amounts of VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston – 10 years 6 monthsgang claimed to have sold four million mobile phones worth £1.7 billion. However, in many cases the phones did not exist. In an attempt to make the trade appear legitimate, over 5,700 fake business transactions were created to claim large amounts of VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston – 10 years 6 monthse gang claimed to have sold four million mobile phones worth £1.7 billion. However, in many cases the phones did not exist. In an attempt to make the trade appear legitimate, over 5,700 fake business transactions were created to claim large amounts of VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston – 10 years 6 months

Sentenced in 2012: Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston – 10 years 6 months

A criminal gang has been jailed for one of the biggest ever alcohol smuggling frauds ever uncovered in the UK. The scam was worth £50m a year in unpaid duty and VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Kevin Ramon Burrage, Gary Dennis Clarke, Michael Brian Turner and Davinder Singh Dhaliwal – 21 years 3 months

A criminal gang has been jailed for one of the biggest ever alcohol smuggling frauds ever uncovered in the UK. The scam was worth £50m a year in unpaid duty and VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Kevin Ramon Burrage, Gary Dennis Clarke, Michael Brian Turner and Davinder Singh Dhaliwal – 21 years 3 months

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