Tax Dodging / Avoidance / Schemes ???

Please feel free to join in or start any games.
Worth recording in this Section , given the farcical goings on at the HM Revenue & Customs.

Article published in Private Eye ( The Eye ) which lays bare the hyprocracy of certain ministries in OUR Government.

A little complicated but ... your patience will be rewarded :

http://www.private-eye.co.uk/issue-1452/in-the-back

A snippet to savor the flavour ?

AS THE sun sets on its infamous deal to sell its offices to a Bermuda company and rent them back for 20 years (Eyes passim ad nauseam), HM Revenue & Customs is busy signing a series of deals for large regional “hub” offices to replace them. After its excoriating experience with Mapeley Steps and Bermuda, is the department eschewing tax-reducing transactions this time round? It seems not.

Under the first of the three deals – for office blocks in Liverpool, Cardiff and Bristol – HMRC has “pre-let” buildings that are being redeveloped under so-called “forward funding agreements”. These involve developers selling the sites to insurance company Legal & General before they are redeveloped, with an agreement to perform the necessary work and with the tenancy (with HMRC) conditional on its completion.

The advantage of this structure over the more straightforward option of developing the land and then selling it to the new landlord is that stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is charged only on the smaller, pre-development value. With the uplift in most cases likely to be in the tens of millions of pounds, and SDLT levied at 5 percent, the savings are impressive.

Oh dear !

The Chancellor of The Exchequer will be " Pleased " ???
Another one worthing of inclusion .... Daily Telegraph .... the phrase " There's one born every minute " springs to mind ?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/tax/news/bog ... pay-54000/

'Bogus stamp duty dodge meant we had to pay £54,000 more' .

Property buyers who sought to sidestep stamp duty – in some cases by using apparently legitimate schemes – now face having to pay the original duty and in certain instances fines and costs on top.

The marketing of so-called “avoidance schemes” surged in the wake of successive stamp duty increases, particularly after the 3 percentage point surcharge that has applied to second property purchases from April 2016.

Many schemes sought to establish their legitimacy by quoting opinions of lawyers – but in many cases the processes had not been tested in court. Other schemes were plainly fraudulent and destined to fail.

But the backdrop of stamp duty bills running into tens of thousands of pounds, and widespread confusion around the surcharge rules, meant these schemes were tempting to many.

Telegraph Money first warned in July 2016 of the dubious legal basis regarding these manoeuvres, some of which promised to cut the duty by up to 100pc – for a fee.

Now a number of cases are coming through where HM Revenue & Customs has caught up with property buyers and is demanding payment – and in some instances is adding 100pc to the bill as a penalty.
‘We should have paid £37,000 – we’ll end up paying £91,000’

One Telegraph Money reader, a hospital doctor, bought a house in Cambridgeshire in 2014. Self-professedly “ignorant” about how stamp duty worked, in the course of researching the transaction she came across a company named CDP Corporate, which was promoting a tantalising avoidance scheme.

The stamp duty bill on the property, costing around £1m, should have been £37,000. The use of the scheme would cut this to just £5,000 and save £32,000, she was promised.

The deal went through using a conveyancer recommended by CDP Corporate. She paid £16,000 in fees for using the scheme. In all, once the purchase went through, the buyer believed she had saved £16,000.

Yet six months after the transaction she received a letter from HMRC saying it was investigating the legality of the scheme. She heard nothing more – until last month.

Out of the blue HMRC sent her a bill for £75,000. This was made up of the original duty plus a raft of penalties. She and her husband attempted to contact CDP Corporate but found it had been dissolved.

But the husband told Telegraph Money: “My wife is a doctor. She doesn’t have the time to think about these things, so it has come as a massive shock. Her mistake was not taking a second opinion, but she thought she was dealing with trustworthy professionals, and just did what they asked.”

He added: “For people with no financial training or experience this is a serious trap.”


When buying a used car , does one usually look under the bonnet ?

You've been caught out my daughter !!!!

Pleading ignorance after the fact is one of the oldest excuses in the book.

" In the course of researching the transaction " .... just happen to come across ways to reduce the stamp duty ?

One of the CDP Corporate staff who spoke to the doctor at the time of the transaction was Paul Connolly, briefly a director of the firm and working in its marketing division at the time.

When Telegraph Money approached him this week he said he believed the scheme had been designed by a solicitor based on the advice of a QC. But he admitted that the “advice” was later discovered to be a forgery.

He said the solicitor in question had fabricated the opinion of a prominent barrister, and that CDP Corporate – which he presented as merely marketing the scheme for a fee – was forced out of business as a result. He said that he had no knowledge of the forgery while recommending the scheme to people.

Mr Connolly is currently a director of a separate company named CDP Tax & Wealth, trading under the name Fiducia Wealth & Tax. Its website claims to be able to save a buyer of a £1m second home £43,328 in stamp duty. Mr Connolly insisted the strategies deployed by Fiducia Wealth & Tax were entirely legal. He said: “Touch wood, our barristers and accountants are as good as it gets.”

Snake oil for sale ... who wants a bottle / case ????
Another one , from the BBC web site , and the use of private limited companies to minimise tax payable ... with a sting :

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-li ... e-41483046

Lorry drivers stung over accounting firm 'tax dodge'.

More than 1,000 lorry drivers have been left owing large sums of tax after claims the accounting company they used disappeared with the money.

They say they were encouraged by agencies to set up as limited companies and use the services of the now-defunct Lincoln-based firm Think Accounting.

An HMRC inquiry is under way after drivers were hit with unpaid tax bills.

Company owners Lee Wilson and Symon Williams Cooke did not respond to BBC requests for a comment.


It is alleged the pair, who were not qualified accountants, worked with HGV driving agencies, paying agency staff commission if they encouraged the drivers to set up as limited companies with Think Accounting.

These limited companies and the tax they were liable for were administered by the firm on the drivers' behalf.

Drivers were given a small weekly wage plus expenses and dividends and say they believed the firm was paying the correct level of tax owed.

One of the affected drivers, Ian Hannon, said he received a tax bill for £11,500 after dealings with the company.

"My national insurance, my corporation tax, my VAT - Think Accounting had not forwarded anything on to the relevant parties to the tune of £11,500."

'Expecting bailiffs'

The company operated from 2011 to 2016, first as Think Accounting, then New Wave Accounting and finally Igloo Accounting, all of which have since ceased trading.

Problems came to light when driver Ron Tierney from Barnsley posted about his experiences on an online forum used by truckers.

"I put on had anyone been a victim of Think and I had 4,500 replies off other truckers in the same position," he said.

"I brushed it under the carpet. I didn't want to tell my wife, my family. I was expecting bailiffs to knock at the front door."
Image caption Ian Hannon was asked to pay £11,500 by the government after dealings with the company

The drivers were directed to another accountant who reported concerns to the police. The investigation was then passed on to HMRC.

Accountant Nic Davison, who has worked with some of the affected drivers, said: "HMRC should have put a stop to it straight away, but what they are doing is prosecuting the people that can't defend themselves."

HMRC urged people to be clear what they were signing up to.

It said anyone who could not pay their tax debts should contact them.

Ian Hannon was asked to pay £11,500 by the government after dealings with the company

The drivers were directed to another accountant who reported concerns to the police. The investigation was then passed on to HMRC.

Accountant Nic Davison, who has worked with some of the affected drivers, said: "HMRC should have put a stop to it straight away, but what they are doing is prosecuting the people that can't defend themselves."



I have some sympathy for the lorry drivers caught out by this one , the use of private limited companies is commonplace in many sectores ... recent news articles on the pilots / RyanAir set up make mention of a similar scheme ( Albeit with some serious implications ) with UK pilots needing to establish Irish private limited companies.
One more from the BBC today .... EvilBay .... it is NOT what it seems !!!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41582844


Ebay paid UK corporation tax of £1.6m in 2016

The UK arm of eBay paid only £1.6m in corporation tax last year, even though its US parent had total revenues from its UK operations of $1.32bn (£1bn).

Ebay's UK accounts record only £200m in revenues, which came entirely from a Swiss parent firm, seemingly for acting as its advertising agency.

The company declined to explain how its UK revenues were not booked though its UK business.

However, an eBay spokesman said its tax affairs were entirely legal.

"In all countries and at all times, eBay is fully compliant with national, EU and international tax rules including those of the OECD, including the remittance of VAT to the appropriate authorities," he said.

The pre-tax profit eBay UK made on its revenues in 2016 was £7.7m, according to the accounts, and it was on this figure that the UK corporation tax was levied.

Ebay is a huge international business that makes money mainly from advertisers and the commission on sales made through its auction site.

The total revenues of $1.32bn that the parent US business generated from the UK included those from subsidiaries such as the Stubhub ticket exchange and Gumtree classifieds site.

Within the group, the UK arm of eBay is wholly owned by eBay International, which is based in Switzerland and is itself owned by eBay in the US.

The firm's UK accounts describe the role of eBay UK as providing "services to eBay International by recommending market penetration and advertising strategies for the UK internal marketplace and related third party advertising sales in the UK, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Australia".

The seeming ability of the company to shelter most its UK profits from the UK tax authorities raises again the ability of big international companies to route their revenues to the countries with the most favourable tax regimes.

This has led in the past few years to intense scrutiny of the tax practices of big firms such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Starbucks.

Ebay in the US, whose international revenues hit $9bn last year, acknowledged that its tax affairs were under scrutiny in several countries, which may leave it with more tax to pay.

"The material jurisdictions where we are subject to potential examination by tax authorities for tax years after 2002 include, among others, the US (Federal and California), Germany, Korea, Israel, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Canada," its US accounts said.
Related Topics



The KEY to this one , and others , is the legitimate " Washing " of revenues / profits through countries like Luxembourg / Switzerland / Ireland to minimise the tax payable on operations.

UNTIL THE UK GOVERNMENT PASSES LEGISLATION TO PREVENT THIS , the likes of EvilBay , and many others , will continue to minimise their tax liabilities in this way.

You can almost guarantee that , in the top 250 UK owned companies , offshore companies appear somewhere in the tombstone of subsidiary / associated companies listed in the appendices of their published balance sheets ... and have been there for decades !!!

Early 1970s ... Lohnro ... Tiny Rowland / salaries and fees to directors ( Including sitting mps at the time ) paid offshore ... Ted Heath " The unacceptable face of capitalism " ???

Fast forward 40+ years ... nothing's changed !

Avoidance or legitimately reducing one's tax liabilities ?

A VERY fine dividing line ????
Inheritence tax problems ?

Think again !

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 98246.html
One of Britain's richest men inherits billions and avoids paying inheritance taxes.

The Duke of Westminster's £8.3 billion fortune is believed to have been handed down to his son, Hugh Grosvenor.

The Duke of Westminster, one of the richest men in Britian, reportedly inherited the bulk of his father's £8.3bn fortune without having to pay a penny in death duties.

The late Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor earned his wealth on the back of a vast portfolio of property and land. Part of his portfolio was made up 300 acres across West London, which included upmarket areas like Belgravia and Mayfair.

But the personal estate left to his widow Natalia, 58, amounted to slightly more than £600m, The Times reported – a fraction of the fortune he had accrued when he died, aged 64, last August.

The bulk of his empire, however, was passed on through family trusts, which still fall outside the scope of inheritance tax rules.

Trusts work by allowing the settlor (the person who establishes the trust), to entrust their assets to a group of people (the trustees). The trustees are the legal owners of the assets and manage and ultimately distribute them for the benefit of the beneficiaries (the people who the settlor wishes to benefit from the trust).

It is believed that in this case they were largely handed down to his son Hugh, 26, the only male among four children and heir to his father’s dukedom, and became Britain's youngest billionaire as a result.

He was named as the ninth wealthiest person in Britain this year in the Sunday Times Rich List, which put his fortune at £9.5bn. He also earned his father's title, and is now the seventh Duke of Westminster.

The late Duke’s daughters, Lady Tamara van Cutsem, 37, Lady Edwina Grosvenor, 35, and Lady Viola Grosvenor, 25, inherited just £20,000 - but will also pick up an undisclosed income from the family trust.

Under British law, inheritance tax of 40 per cent does have to be paid on estates worth more than £325,000 that are left entirely to a spouse or charity.

Wealth handed down through trusts also escapes the levy because they are set up when the person was alive.

John Christensen, of the Tax Justice Network, hit out at the “glaring loophole” in inheritance tax rules.

"The big issue here is the way very, very wealthy families have for generations used trusts to pass assets on outside the sphere of inheritance tax," he told The Times. "It is a glaring loophole. It's a political choice to have it and it means dynastic wealth is passed down the generations intact, leading to a much greater concentration of wealth."

The late Duke of Westminster also left millions to charities from his £8.3 billion fortune. It included £20 million to his family charity the Westminster Foundation as well as £1.1 million to military museums and farming bodies.

A cash sum of £250,000 was also left to be split among his family and staff, including workers at the 27,500-acre estate in Abbeystead, Lancashire.

A spokesman for the Grosvenor Estate said the family trust paid inheritance tax of 6 per cent on the value of its assets every ten years. That was done to keep continuity of ownership rather than to avoid the levy.

He said: “The idea that the Duke doesn’t pay any inheritance tax is completely wrong.”


Oh dear , the magic word again ... LOOPHOLE ... works wonders when the number one priority of most Governments is to preserve wealth and power ... for the few ... always handy when the Tax Man comes knocking ?

" 'ow 'bout 'alf of Mayfair , squire , and we'll shake 'ands ? "

" On yer bike , peasant , or I'll get one of my butlers to set the dogs on yer ! "

Well , HM Customs and Revenue did try ... didn't they ?

Image
Under British law, inheritance tax of 40 per cent does have to be paid on estates worth more than £325,000 that are left entirely to a spouse or charity.
Not that it makes any difference, but he probably means English law, not British (no such thing) and 'that are NOT left...' (else the wife couldn't have inherited £600k.
Greta wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:43 am
Under British law, inheritance tax of 40 per cent does have to be paid on estates worth more than £325,000 that are left entirely to a spouse or charity.
Not that it makes any difference, but he probably means English law, not British (no such thing) and 'that are NOT left...' (else the wife couldn't have inherited £600k.
Yes, you're right Greta - left to spouse or charity there is no inheritance tax to pay !
ImageContinuing the bricks and mortar theme , some readers with an interest in this thread maybe reminded of the Eye's map on overseas companies owning UK properties ... 1999 - 2014 ... the heading of which taken from the infamous Genesis album " Selling England By The Pound " :

Choice of either downloading the ( massive ) EXCEL file or viewing the report in PDF. format.

Needless to say , many hundreds of man / woman / not obliged to say hours went into producing this report.

What it reveals is staggering ... and the potential loss of wealth / revenue to the UK economy ... literally in the tens of billions !

Make of it what you will .... you can guarantee a hugh cross section of well known names from all sectors are hiding behind these entities.

Some of the larger ticket properties will be owned by our very own pension providers ... since Gordon Brown introduced tax on their income , they too have joined the offshore bandwagon ... without so much as a murmur from our politicians.

For the working man , minimising tax deducted through PAYE is not an option !

For an investor , minimising tax through the use of offshore entities is perfectly acceptable even if the Law on Taxation is stretched almost to breaking point.

Or , somewhat cynically , if Al Capone was British ... perhaps " Lead " would have been a legitimate expense to offset against tax .... an essential in his line of work ?

In TaxLand , all pay tax but some less than others ?