More than 1,000 tax planning schemes are being targeted by the taxman as the Revenue ramps up the use of a controversial tool that demands immediate payment of disputed bills.
Kevin Kinsella of KinsellaTax 2014 Ltd said today that Revenue and Customs is pressing ahead with accelerated payment notices, which demand the payment of disputed tax before any formal hearing where use of an avoidance scheme is suspected. The tax must be paid within 90 days and there is no right of appeal. It is understood that the Revenue has recently added 15 schemes to its list of those subject to the measures, bringing the total to 1,181.
Challenges in the courts appear to be having little impact on their approach. HMRC is continuing to employ the tool aggressively, adding more and more targets to the list.
Concerns over the use of these powers are justified. They allow HMRC to demand and receive payment in advance before arguments are heard and determined. Recipients can end up facing bills for many millions – some may even face the prospect of bankruptcy as a result.
It is logical and fair to establish for certain whether the conditions for issuance are fully met before sending these out.