HMRC wins a tenth round against avoidance scheme promoter NT Advisors

HM Revenue & Customs has won its tenth case against NT Advisors, a UK tax avoidance scheme promoter it has targeted repeatedly over the past few years, thus protecting, it says, a total of £916m in tax.

Its latest victory saw the Court of Appeal rule that NT Advisors’ latest scheme to be challenged consisted of “a series of circular payments designed purely to generate tax deductions, with no genuine commercial purpose”, HMRC said in a statement announcing the verdict. “No tax relief is therefore due.”

HMRC said the decision would “protect” £143m in tax.

In the statement, HMRC director general of enforcement and compliance Jennie Granger noted that the latest verdict meant that the tax enforcement agency now had a “100% success record against NT Advisors in the courts”, and urged anyone “currently using one of their schemes, or any other avoidance scheme, we will help you get out, if you get in touch with us”.

In addition to the ten litigation wins, HMRC also successfully defended a Judicial Review brought by NT Advisors, which challenged the issue of so-called Schedule 36 notices to obtain information on avoidance schemes. Schedule 36 notices are issued when the Revenue has reason to believe more tax ought to have been paid than has been, and wants more information than it has to find out whether this is true.

£3bn in ‘accelerated payments’ 

Over the past two years, HMRC has collected some £3bn from users of tax avoidance schemes under its “accelerated payments” programme, which collects disputed tax amounts up front, rather than waiting for a ruling.

With respect to NT Advisors, its previous victories have include the firm’s controversial Working Wheels scheme, where involved participants who claimed to be second-hand car dealers.

HMRC’s dedicated helpline for people who have engaged in tax avoidance is 03000 530 435. Further information can also be found by clicking here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Burggraf
Helen Burggraf is the editor of International Investment. A US-trained journalist, she has worked in Rome, New York City and London, covering everything from the fashion and retailing industries to the global drinking water and water-treatment sector, private equity, and most recently, the international cross-border financial services/advice industry.

Read more from Helen Burggraf

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