Treasury won't name and shame tax avoiders

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Tax experts have scoffed at Treasury plans announced this week to “name and shame” tax avoiders. But they warned anyone involved in schemes that they face up to five years of sleepless nights as loopholes are closed.

Mitch Young, tax manager at Lerman Jacobs Davis chartered accountants in Elstree, said: “The Treasury believes it has to act, which is why it has re-emphasised its promise to crack down on tax avoidance. However, rumours of naming and shaming are unfounded as HMRC cannot release information on private individuals’ tax affairs.

“The new measures will undoubtedly help HMRC identify those taking part in such schemes and enquiries will increase as a result, but these will go on for a number of years before a conclusion has been reached.”

Frank Nash, tax partner at national accountants Blick Rothenberg, agreed. “While naming and shaming could come in as part of the general anti-avoidance rules due next April, it is likely to be aimed at advisers who promote the schemes which, frankly have a fairly elastic interpretation of the existing tax legislation.

“However, the Revenue does seem determined to crack down on those using artificial tax planning or loopholes – such as the K2 Jersey-based scheme – so I reckon the people involved have up to five years of sleepless nights ahead,” Mr Nash warned.