Three US companies that have become household names in the UK are the latest to come under fire as the government continues its campaign against tax avoidance. Starbucks, Amazon and Google have all been accused of “being immoral’; ensuring they made little or no profits in the UK in order to avoid the 20% corporation tax payable on profits.
MPs on the Public Accounts Committee claim that tax schemes are resulting in an unfair advantage for British-based companies. “This is not just unfair on hard working honest UK taxpayers. It gives overseas companies an unfair competitive advantage over UK companies. That’s bad for our economic growth’, commented Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke.
Over recent months there has been a demonisation of companies and individuals who use tax avoidance; including earlier in the year when the Prime Minister publically criticised Jimmy Carr’s tax arrangements with the K2 Scheme as “morally wrong’. A Daily Telegraph investigation recently revealed that doctors were avoiding paying tax on their pensions by temporarily retiring.
HM Revenue and Customs in their September 2012 Issue Briefing reiterate their three prong attack on tax avoidance schemes as “prevent avoidance where possible, detect it early where it arises, and counteract it effectively through investigation and legal challenge or legislative change’.
On Monday HM Revenue and Customs revealed their new billboard campaign targeted at those who evade tax. What is clear is the government’s determination to crack down on schemes that seek to hide assets.
At Farleys we have a specialist team who can provide advice and representation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are facing an investigation by HMRC, we advise that you contact a fraud defence solicitor as soon as possible – early advice is often crucial.