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Budget 2011: avoidance - getting to the heart of the problem?

This government is adopting a more strategic approach to avoidance that gets to the root of the problem rather than treating the symptoms. That is the thrust of Tackling Tax Avoidance released on Budget day. The document is full of good sensible stuff – including a refreshingly innovative proposal designed to keep taxpayers honest by removing the cash flow advantages of entering into schemes which are known to be ‘try-ons’ – and reaffirms the government’s commitment to moving away from the ‘sticking plaster’ approach which is resulting in an increasingly unwieldy tax code. It is just a shame that the message is not getting through to HMRC: Budget day also saw the publication of eight pages of closely articulated amendments to the sale of lessor rules designed to counter particular disclosed arrangements. The changes involve fiddling around with some definitions and withdrawing an election which had only recently...

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