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HMRC Collects GBP300m From Stamp Duty Crackdown

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

01 December 2015


HM Revenue and Customs's (HMRC's) Counter Avoidance Directorate collected GBP301.8m (USD455.6m) in unpaid UK stamp duty land tax (SDLT) in the year to March 31, 2015, according to law firm Collyer Bristow.

The Directorate was established in April 2014 to bring together HMRC's work on "marketed tax avoidance schemes" and "policy work on avoidance."

James Badcock, Partner at Collyer Bristow, commented: "The Government's aggressive clamp down on SDLT avoidance schemes over the last few years is now bearing fruit. The high returns from compliance investigations mean that this area is likely to remain under the spotlight for some time to come."

Badcock explained that avoidance schemes are typically being used to reduce SDLT for properties worth GBP1m and more. The Government has legislated to close down schemes, and HMRC has conducted better resourced investigations and used litigation and the disclosure regime to tackle avoidance, he said.

Badcock added: "While in many cases there is likely to be a legal justification for transactions which allowed an SDLT liability to be avoided, HMRC can be expected to challenge the schemes and anyone who is concerned at all should now seek advice. Individuals who decided to engage in the planning because it seemed so easy at the time may not have the stomach for the fight once faced with an HMRC challenge. This can be expensive but another critical factor is a climate in which engaging in abusive tax avoidance can cause reputational damage to those in the public eye."

TAGS: compliance | tax | tax compliance | tax avoidance | law | United Kingdom | tax authority | legislation | stamp duty | HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) | revenue statistics | HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

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