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‘High risk’ financial advisers slapped with massive fines?

The future could be rather bleak for any tax adviser offering products from a ‘high risk’ firm, as new Government rules could see these folks fined harshly.

In its seemingly unending crusade against anyone who tries to get away with not paying their fair share to the taxman, the Government has fired yet another warning shot cross the prow of those involved in tax avoidance schemes. This time the Government is going directly after financial advisers by threatening them with fines if they are found to be offering tax management schemes from so-called ‘high risk’ firms.

Now I’m not trying to cause trouble here, but what in the world is going to constitute a ‘high risk’ firm in the eyes of the Treasury? I mean yes it’s a vitally important goal to stamp out tax avoidance so we can make sure the Government can squeeze every last penny from everyone they possibly can, but right now the Treasury says that there are around 20 firms out there that would fall under this categorisation if these new rules went into effect today, for instance; with fines as high as £1 million, this could easily cripple any firm that has earned the Government’s ire.

I’m sorry, but I simply don’t trust the Government to make these kinds of decisions any more. I mean it can’t even give us a straight answer on IR35 guidance but it expects us to just sit back and trust it when it wants to decide which tax planning scheme is at a heightened risk for tax avoidance? And why are these firms being targeted – firms that may not be doing anything wrong – when we already know that the biggest source of tax avoidance in the UK is almost certainly multinational corporations that enjoy sending their profits overseas to notorious tax shelters such as those found in the Cayman Islands?

Notice you don’t see the Government threatening Amazon or Starbucks with these types of new regulations. No, apparently the veiled threat of these multinationals packing up their things and finding a more permissive place to do business is too much for the Government to handle – imagine if Google decided to shutter its London offices, making  hundreds if not thousands of Brits redundant, and moving overseas, simply because the Government asked them to stop mucking about and using arcane tax shelters to avoid paying their fair share. Oh no, it’s much better to pick off the smaller targets that can’t disrupt the British economy! Bloody cowards.

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