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HMRC’s recent actions threaten to blur further the distinction between tax avoidance and evasion, believes Chris Belcher

3 December 2012

Last week the BBC reported that HMRC was adopting new tactics in its attempts to crack down on tax avoidance. It had learned that 1,500 people would receive strongly worded letters from HMRC in a “pre-emptive strike” to catch members of a particular tax avoidance scheme before the scheme’s legality was challenged (‘Tax avoiders to get warning shot from HMRC’, BBC News Online, 24 November 2012).

Is it really right that HMRC should be approaching matters in this way?

Avoidance tactics

It is trite but nevertheless true to say that tax avoidance (as opposed to tax evasion) is legal, and it is long established that individuals and companies in the UK have a right to arrange their affairs in such a way as to mitigate their tax liability. However, HMRC is under increasing pre...

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