Stewarts’ Lee Ellis quoted in Economia article about tax avoidance

Stewarts’ Lee Ellis, a barrister in the firm’s tax litigation department, has been quoted in an article in the Institute of Chartered Accountants’ members’ magazine, Economia, about HMRC’s fightback against tax avoidance.

The article ‘How HMRC is fighting back against tax avoidance schemes’ looks at the measures HMRC is taking to ensure everyone pays their share of tax. It explains that HMRC will no longer tolerate tax schemes designed purely to help businesses or individuals reduce their tax liability, even if they are within the letter of the law.

The article says one area HMRC has focused attention on is the Senior Accounting Officer (SAO) regime, which holds finance directors personally accountable for ensuring their tax reporting schemes are up to speed. HMRC initially took a tolerant attitude towards the regime, issuing no fines in the first three years. That has changed though and in 2015/16 it handed out 181 fines of £5,000.

In the article, Lee Ellis says: “Senior executives and finance directors are, and will be, expected to play a leading role in ensuring compliance with the various regimes and ensuring increased transparency.

“With large fines and much greater reputational damage at stake, it seems certain that breaches of these various regimes will have career-defining effects for many senior executives and finance directors.”

The article goes on to look at a number of other issues affecting finance directors, including the requirement to disclose any form of tax planning and the issue of advance payment notices.

To read the full article in Economia, click here.