Market leading insight for tax experts
View online issue

HMRC defends ‘no compromise’ approach to investigations

printer Mail

HMRC recognises that there is a difference between tax planning and avoidance, but will not compromise where it is confident of its analysis of tax law in a dispute, a spokesman has told Tax Journal after BDO called for greater clarity as to what the government perceives to be tax avoidance that must be tackled.

‘Our approach to protecting tax revenues means supporting those businesses that are open and honest with us by reducing the time they spend with us working on tax issues,’ the spokesman said.

‘All large businesses are provided with an HMRC Customer Relationship Manager who will be happy to discuss transactions with them to get a better understanding of the commercial context and provide a view on the tax implications.’

He added that the government has committed to tax simplification. Responding to BDO's research finding that HMRC appeared on occasions to take an aggressive stance towards some commercially driven business transactions, with many respondents ‘feeling as though they are being treated as guilty until proven innocent’, HMRC said: ‘We aim to resolve tax disputes where possible through discussion and consensus but we won’t compromise where we are clear that our analysis of the tax rules is the right one.’

The spokesman flagged HMRC’s compliance and litigation strategies, published on the department’s website.