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HMRC issues first accelerated payment demands

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HMRC issued over 600 accelerated payment notices since August to users of marketed tax avoidance schemes, covering tax amounting to £250m. HMRC aims, by the end of March 2016, to have delivered 43,000 such notices, covering £7.1bn.

Financial secretary to the Treasury David Gauke commented: ‘Accelerated payments are changing the economics of avoidance by removing the cashflow advantage that avoidance scheme users have had until now. It is only fair that those who use avoidance schemes should have to pay their tax upfront, like the vast majority of other taxpayers who don’t try to shirk their responsibilities.’ Jennie Granger, director general of enforcement and compliance at HMRC, said: ‘HMRC is making good progress in tackling marketed avoidance. If anyone is concerned about being able to pay the notice they should contact us as soon as possible to discuss their options.’

Despite recipients having 90 days to pay the tax demanded in the notices, HMRC says that avoidance scheme users have already begun to contact it to arrange to make payments, covering over £25m of disputed tax, and that many more users are also choosing to contact HMRC about settling their tax affairs rather than waiting to receive an accelerated payment notice.