HMRC Announces Further Avoidance Powers Consultation – ‘Strengthening Sanctions for Tax Avoidance’



HMRC has published a further consultation setting out proposals to attempt to punish taxpayers who use a series of tax avoidance schemes, so called “serial use”.
The plans propose a surcharge for those who repeatedly use failed avoidance schemes as well as further reporting requirements on such users.
It is also proposed that there could be a specific GAAR-related penalty (general anti-abuse rule), together with plans to publish the names of serial tax avoiders repeatedly using tax schemes that fail.
In addition the government also wish to implement further rules including a change to the thresholds at which the POTAS rules (promoters of tax avoidance schemes) kick in.
The government and HMRC have already produced a number of new rules and sanctions for users of avoidance schemes, and it remains to be seen how effective they have been.  Changes already implemented include the introduction of: the general anti-abuse rule (the GAAR), accelerated payment notices (APNs) and follower notices, as well as the expanded DOTAS regulations and the new promoters of tax avoidance schemes (POTAS) regime.
We have argued before that HMRC should have sufficient powers already so it interesting that they now feel the need to implement new rules, before the changes that have already been implemented have had time to settle in.  We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the extensive powers that HMRC now have, and when we might say, “enough is enough”.