Offshore companies named as tax avoidance promoters

10 May 2023

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has named two Belize registered companies as promoters of a tax avoidance scheme in the UK.

HMRC has reported that the two offshore companies were promoting and marketing a tax avoidance scheme known as the Umbrella Remuneration Trust (URT). The scheme used complex, offshore, financial arrangements so that income tax and National Insurance contributions (NIC) were not correctly paid.

The Trust received contributions from the scheme users, UK companies and self-employed people who claimed the contribution as a deductible corporation tax or income tax expense. When the money was transferred back to the user, no taxes were paid.

Mary Aiston, HMRC’s Director of Counter Avoidance, said:

"These cynically marketed tax avoidance schemes don’t work in the way the promoters claim and users can end up with big tax bills.

Over the last year we have published the details of 33 tax avoidance schemes and exposed the unscrupulous promoters behind them. HMRC has also published details of 11 Stop Notices issued to promoters, and is consulting on adding a criminal sanction for promoters who breach those notices.

We will continue to take strong action against those who promote and market tax avoidance schemes and remain committed to supporting taxpayers to steer clear of or exit tax avoidance.’’

HMRC is encouraging taxpayers to be vigilant and to stay out of tax avoidance. A campaign called ‘Don't Get Caught Out’ has been set up, to help remind taxpayers that the consequences of using tax avoidance schemes can be severe, including additional taxes, interest and penalties, as well as reputational damage.

Further information can be found on HMRC’s list of named tax avoidance schemes, promoters, enablers and suppliers. If a tax avoidance scheme is not shown in the list, this does not mean that the scheme works or is in any way approved by HMRC.

In addition to this, HMRC’s interactive risk checker tool can be used to find out if certain employment arrangements could involve tax avoidance.

Employees can also check their payslips using HMRC’s payslip guidance and make sure they are not involved in a tax avoidance scheme, operated by umbrella companies.

Read the full press release here.

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