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Government closes another tax avoidance scheme

Accountants may be interested to learn that the Government recently closed down another aggressive income tax avoidance scheme [1].

The scheme was being used by wealthy individuals to reduce the amount of tax they pay at the end of the year. It involved creating false transactions in order to generate tax relief from an artificial agricultural business. The land and property business owning it do exist, but the transactions do not. They are created solely to offset a loss against income, thus reducing the size of the individual’s tax liability.

New legislation was introduced into the Finance Bill [2] on March 13th to close this scheme and this legislation came into immediate effect.

This is the third aggressive tax avoidance scheme that HMRC [3] has unearthed recently and the Government realises that more similar schemes will probably emerge. Therefore it has introduced legislation to stop the artificial use of post cessation property relief.

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said the UK’s chief priority is to reduce the economic deficit and it is unacceptable for people to attempt to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. The Government has acted swiftly to close down this scheme and won’t hesitate to do the same as soon as it becomes aware of other tax avoidance schemes.

This latest move will not affect agricultural businesses that are trading legitimately and need to offset a loss from agricultural expenses against their general income.

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Image: Tractor Decay [4] by idreamofdaylight

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