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Spotlight on gold bullion schemes

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HMRC has added a new item, concerning disguised remuneration ‘gold bullion’ schemes, to its targeted list of tax avoidance schemes (see ‘Spotlight 30’). This draws attention to legislation in Finance Bill 2016 cl 18 introducing a targeted anti-avoidance rule aimed at such schemes with effect from 16 March 2016. It also refers to the wider set of changes proposed in the Budget to tackle the continued use of disguised remuneration schemes. This will include legislation in Finance Bill 2017 to ensure that all loans, debts or obligations arising from disguised remuneration schemes, such as employee benefit trusts and contractor loan schemes, will be taxed as earnings, to the extent that they haven’t already been taxed or repaid by 5 April 2019. New schemes may face possible retrospective action back to 25 November 2015.

Commenting on the Budget announcements, Nigel Holmes, partner at Armstrong Watson, says HMRC considers the time between now and 5 April 2019 as a grace period ‘which should give affected taxpayers the time to extract themselves from tax avoidance schemes and to bring their affairs in order’. The options are to repay the loan or to reach an agreement to pay the tax. There are no specific inducements to taxpayers to extract themselves from any affected schemes.

Further detail on the changes is expected in a consultation in the summer.

Issue: 1308
Categories: News