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Revenue brief covers withholding repayment claims in avoidance cases

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HMRC has published Revenue & Customs Brief 28/2013, setting out its policy on withholding repayment claims in avoidance cases. HMRC aims to stop tax avoiders from acquiring an advantage, even a temporary advantage, over the majority of taxpayers who don’t try to get around the rules. This comes after HMRC won in 82% of decisions (i.e. in 26 out of 32 cases) in the tribunals and courts in tax avoidance cases during the year ended 31 March 2013, which HMRC says has protected more than £1bn in tax. HMRC has stated in the brief: ‘In appropriate circumstances, we withhold income tax repayments where the claims which produce them constitute (in our opinion) tax avoidance, and where we are challenging or considering challenging those claims by enquiry. If we are satisfied that a claim for repayment does not depend (or does not wholly depend) on tax avoidance, we do of course work with customers and their agents with a view to making an appropriate provisional repayment.’