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UK Must Crack Down On Tax Avoidance, Says Tax Practitioners' Body

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

10 August 2012


The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) has recently unveiled a five-point programme to help HMRC crack down on aggressive tax avoidance schemes.

STEP's proposed five points include simplifying the tax system, designing taxes with a stronger emphasis on potential abuses, better consultation on any tax change which is proposed, making advisers responsible for advising clients against aggressive tax avoidance schemes, and closer collaboration between professional bodies and tax authorities with a view to tackling international tax avoidance.

This move by professional body STEP is part of the recent major trend in the UK against tax avoidance, in particular by the wealthy. After recent scandals, the UK Treasury's proposals for the introduction of a General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR), and HMRC's announcement of plans to name and shame individuals involved in aggressive tax avoidance schemes, STEP has declared that professional bodies must “recognize this shift”.

More particularly, STEP has announced that it would collaborate with tax authorities to contribute to elaborating a set definition of unacceptable tax planning, which is key for the introduction of a GAAR.

At the same time, STEP has proposed that tax reform should make the tax system more “predictable, with unambiguous and consistent language and definitions that allow taxpayers the right to plan with confidence,” alluding to the inability of many taxpayers to understand tax laws.

TAGS: individuals | tax | investment | tax avoidance | law | tax planning | tax reform

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