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Tax avoidance measures and new tax checks to be investigated by Lords committee

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee today invites contributions to its inquiry on the draft Finance Bill 2020–21.

In scrutinising the draft Bill, the Committee will focus on three areas of the Bill, all related to the powers of HMRC:

  • New proposals for tackling promoters and enablers of tax avoidance schemes;
  • New tax checks on licence renewal applications; and
  • Amendments to HMRC’s civil information powers.

This inquiry seeks written evidence on:

New proposals for tackling promoters and enablers of tax avoidance schemes

  • How effective are the existing powers of HMRC in tackling promoters and enablers of tax avoidance schemes?
  • What has been your experience of the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes (POTAS) rules and the enablers rules in practice?
  • How effective will the proposed measures be against those who promote aggressive tax avoidance schemes, and in informing and deterring potential scheme users?

New tax checks on licence renewal applications

  • Are the proposals for tax checks on licence renewal applications fair and proportionate?
  • What is your view of the principle of conditionality and its use in the tax system?
  • Could the problems this measure is designed to address have been tackled effectively by other means?

Amendments to HMRC’s civil information powers

  • What is your view of the removal of the requirement to obtain tax tribunal approval before issuing a Financial Institution Notice? Are the safeguards promised instead adequate and, if not, what more should be done?

Is the scope of the new power in terms of the information to be reported to HMRC appropriate and sufficiently clear?

The Committee is also interested in the proposed introduction of new requirements for certain businesses to notify uncertain tax treatments, where the business considers that HMRC may have a different view of the tax treatment to its own.

Lord Bridges of Headley, Chair of the Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee, said:

“The Government has new proposals for tackling tax avoidance schemes and tax checks for anyone applying for licences which could affect 400,000 small businesses, many of them drivers of taxis and minicabs.

“It also wants to introduce a new measure to require banks to provide information to HMRC about a specific taxpayer, without the tax tribunal’s approval.

“To inform our work we want to hear from as broad a range of people and organisations as possible. If you have a view on any or all of these proposals, please let us know what you think.”

The deadline for the submission of written evidence is 7 October 2020.

Find out more including how to submit evidence

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