UK tax avoiders to be named and shamed
The government has announced measures to disclose the name of millionaires who have used the tax avoidance scheme to pay as little as 1% to the Treasury.
The ministers’ decision follows revelations about the financial loopholes used by the rich and famous to legally avoid paying large sums of money on taxes that has contributed to nearly 14% (£5bn) on uncollected taxes.
Commenting on the new plan, Exchequer Secretary David Gauke said: “At a time of economic difficulty, when tough decisions have to be made on public spending and when the burden of taxation remains high, there is little sympathy for those who do not make their full contribution.
“For those who work hard and pay their taxes, it is galling to see others shirk their responsibilities on either front.”
Under the new proposals, promoters of tax-avoidance schemes that are based off-shore will be made to hand over customer databases. That information will be used to formally warn clients about the deals they have agreed to and work out how much amount of tax they owe if the scheme failed.
If a promoter fails to comply with the rules, then they will have to provide extra information to HM revenue and Customs (HMRC) on all of their schemes, not just the ones they were penalised for.
Last month, comedian Jimmy Carr was at the centre of media attention after it was revealed he used the K2 tax-avoidance scheme – a legal scheme that allowed him to pay income tax of mere 1%.
One of the Tories’ major donors, George Robinson, also found himself in hot water recently after it was revealed he had used an off-shore scheme to slash his tax bills.
Criticising the government’s failure to tackle the tax avoidance scheme, Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, said: “It tells you everything you need to know about this government that ministers have chosen to give a speech on tax avoidance at an organisation whose trustee, the Conservative donor George Robinson, has just been found to have used an off-shore avoidance scheme and had to pay back millions of pounds.
“With billions of pounds estimated to be lost each year, this government is failing to tackle tax avoidance, while also giving a tax cut to millionaires.”