Accountants, tax planners and advisors could face tough penalties if they are found to have helped companies avoid tax.
Currently tax avoiders face significant financial costs if HMRC defeats them in court. However, those who advised on, or facilitated, the avoidance bear little risk.
This could change under the new proposals published this week by the Treasury. “People who peddle tax avoidance schemes deny the country of vital tax revenue and this government is determined to make sure they pay,” said Jane Ellison, the financial secretary to the Treasury.
Under the plans set out in an HMRC consultation document, enablers of tax avoidance could have to pay a fine of up to 100% of the tax the scheme’s user underpaid.
The Prime Minister, Theresa May, last month made a promise to tackle corporate tax evasion. She named Starbucks, Amazon and Google as companies who had “a responsibility to pay your taxes”.
The tax affairs of Starbucks, Cadbury and McDonald’s have all been criticised of late.