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A House of Lords report encouraging the government to take tough action against ‘hard core’ promoters of tax avoidance schemes has been very much welcomed by the CIOT.

The recommendation is among those in a report from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee Finance Bill Sub-Committee, published on Saturday 19th December.

The report also draws on CIOT evidence in a number of other areas, including reducing the demand for tax avoidance schemes and the challenges of identifying an ‘uncertain tax treatment’, in making its recommendations.

Commenting on the Committee’s recommendations in relation to promoters of tax avoidance schemes (POTAS), CIOT Head of Technical Richard Wild (who appeared as a witness before the Committee) said, “The Committee is right to back the government’s strategy of tough action against those who devise, promote and sell tax avoidance schemes. They are also right to highlight the need for such action to be proportionate, carefully targeted and accompanied by safeguards.

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“In our written evidence to the Lords inquiry we identified two particular concerns in relation to the proposed measures: the lack of a right of appeal against the new information notice, and the inclusion of ‘DAC 6’ (the new cross-EU tax disclosure regime) within the definition of ‘defeated arrangements’ in the POTAS regime, when HMRC had provided assurances that DAC6 compliance would not creep into other regimes.

“The Committee endorses both of these concerns in its report, recommending that HMRC ‘revisits the triggers for POTAS to minimise the risk of these rules affecting bona fide professional advisers’, in particular in relation to DAC6, and reiterating its 2018 recommendation that new powers for HMRC should be accompanied by a right of appeal.”

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