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HMRC strikes back thrice against tax avoidance schemes

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has ticked three win boxes in their fight against tax avoidance schemes, trumpeting the victories that the taxman says has brought to an end the possibility of £200 million slipping through its fingers.

Battling tax avoidance has become a particularly high-profile battle cry for HMRC, ever since it was revealed that comedian Jimmy Carr was using the now-infamous K2 scheme to funnel money overseas. The tax collector has aimed its sights squarely on actively combating such schemes, though this new vigilance has had the unwelcome knock-on effect of making it harder for contractors to avoid being investigated for a possible IR35 classification, even when they are in little to no danger of actually being guilty of disguised employment.

Even though HMRC has prevailed in three tax avoidance cases last month, this doesn’t mean that each and every one they bring will result in victories, of course. Three successful cases don’t make a trend, after all, especially since the instances surrounding each case were all very different from one another.

Still, HMRC has its heart in the right place, even if it’s got its head in the clouds much of the time. For every victory struck against individuals or businesses that were actively trying to avoid having to pay the proper amount of taxes owed to the government, there will undoubtedly be many cases that are struck down in court or at tribunal; these cases can be expensive to finance and could see net losses incurred by the taxman because HMRC has become so hyper-vigilant when it comes to people trying to cheat the government out of their fair share.

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