HMRC collects £32m upfront payments from tax scheme users (15 December 2014)
HMRC announced on 15 December 2014 that it pulled in £32m as a result of sending out its first tranche of Accelerated Payment notices to users of marketed tax avoidance schemes, who are now required to pay any disputed tax upfront.
About 30 scheme users were told in late August they had 90 days to pay a total of around £29m under the new regime. HMRC says that over 99% of this money was paid within the deadline, with several payment arrangements also in place.
Taking into account payments received from those who have not yet passed the 90 day payment deadline, HMRC says it has received £32m in disputed tax to date.
David Gauke, financial secretary to the Treasury said: ‘The high success rate for the first set of Accelerated Payments notices shows avoidance scheme users are having to face up to the reality that they should pay their tax upfront, like the vast majority of taxpayers.
‘As we move into 2015 and HMRC ramps up the number of notices it sends out, thousands more will get the message that Accelerated Payments has changed the economics of tax avoidance.’
Accelerated Payments were included in Finance Act 2014. They apply where avoidance schemes are subject to the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) rules or the General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR), or where they are similar to a scheme that has already been defeated in the courts.
So far, HMRC has issued over 1,750 Accelerated Payment notices, to the value of £400m, the majority of which have not reached the 90 day payment deadline. From January 2015 HMRC will be issuing 2,500 Accelerated Payment notices each month.
HMRC targets horsebox owners
Individuals dishonestly claiming horseboxes worth hundreds of thousands of pounds as company expenses are set to be the subject of HM Revenue & Customs investigation, as it continues its clampdown on tax evasion.
It appears that HMRC suspects some farmers and rural business owners of buying horseboxes through their company, and either falsely claiming the cost as a business expense for tax purposes, or failing to declare personal use of the horsebox and paying tax on it as a “benefit in kind”.
HMRC officials can now identify connections and discrepancies between an individual or company’s official tax records and information from multiple third party sources via the department’s computer system, Connect.
HMRC VAT news
Revised VAT forms
The following forms have been updated by HMRC:
VAT5L – ‘Registration – Land and Property’
VAT1614A –‘Notification of an option to tax land and/or buildings’
VAT1614H – ‘Application for permission to opt’
Please note some of the option to tax applications (forms VAT1614A and VAT1614H) are now dealt with in a different location so HMRC has updated the address on these forms.
Flat Rate Scheme
HMRC has updated its guidance on the Flat Rate Scheme.