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HMRC’s EBTs settlement initiative

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In April 2011, HMRC announced that they are offering employers who have utilised Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) and similar arrangements, the opportunity to resolve outstanding enquiries without recourse to litigation. This initiative seeks to encourage taxpayers to settle disputes relating to ‘disguised remuneration’ provided before 6 April 2011, by relying on an implicit threat for some taxpayers of a double tax charge if they decide not to avail themselves of this offer. In deciding whether to take advantage of this settlement initiative, much will depend on how confident taxpayers are that HMRC will not succeed before the courts should they decide to run similar arguments to those which were unsuccessful in Sempra Metals Ltd, and also the amounts of tax involved.

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