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Press watch: Secret BBC recording exposes ‘aggressive’ tax avoidance scheme

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The BBC revealed (29 May) that Anderson Group, one of the most high-profile companies providing services to the recruitment industry, is promoting what it calls an ‘aggressive’ tax avoidance scheme that exploits the employment allowance introduced by the government in 2014.

The claims came to light after the BBC revealed it secretly recorded Ian Moran, sales manager of Anderson Group, promoting the scheme to a recruitment agency, saying if the recruitment agency set up more than 100 limited companies with just a few workers in each of them, each company could then claim the £2,000 allowance – and that by his calculations the recruitment agency’s NIC liability would go from £300,000 a year to zero, which the BBC alleged he said could be ‘spent on Bentleys and ski chalets’. Moran further admitted the employment allowance ‘wasn't intended to be used exactly like this,’ but added: ‘Let’s be straight, but they set the rules, we'll build a product.’

‘Schemes like this don't work and anyone thinking of using it should think again,’ Jennie Granger, head of compliance at HMRC said. ‘Failing to disclose an attempted avoidance scheme is punishable by a fine of up to £1m.’ Meanwhile Robin Williamson MBE, head of LITRG, told the BBC that the scheme was ‘highly aggressive’ and ‘abusive’, adding: ‘To use the colloquial – they are having a laugh.’

Issue: 1267
Categories: News , Anti-avoidance