HMRC and the Advertising Standards Authority advertising watchdog have teamed up to crack down on companies advertising tax avoidance schemes. Various types of tax avoidance schemes are available and advertised as legitimate ways to minimise income tax, stamp duty and national insurance payments. Although HMRC state that they are actively challenging such schemes and added that they are rarely likely to hold up to scrutiny.
Previously HMRC has focused on trying to close down these schemes, but they are now trying a new approach in partnership with ASA. HMRC are reporting firms advertising these schemes and making spurious claims about tax mitigation directly to ASA. ASA are then following up and making rulings on the legitimacy of such adverts on a case by case basis.
Recent cases have proved the approach successful. A corporation called CDP Tax and Wealth, trading under the name Fiducia Wealth and Tax, was reported to ASA by HMRC for making claims on their website that participants in their scheme could save a minimum of 60% on stamp duty. ASA subsequently ruled the claims should be removed as they did not comply with their guidelines.
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