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HMRC could be targeting Sanzar EBT operations

Watch out, contractors: if you used a Sanzar Solutions employee benefit trust administrated in the Isle of Man, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs may want you.

For what it’s worth, it’s never a good sign when the taxman wants to talk to you, as it usually ends up you coming out with more than a little less cash in your pocket. Well, HMRC has some quite pointed questions for any freelance worker that worked through Sanzar Solutions between the years of 2008 and 2011, particularly because some bad apples have purportedly using the EBT system to sidestep quite a bit of tax responsibility, particularly by receiving the majority of their pay in a loan that goes on to never be repaid or even written off.

What this did is lower a contractor’s tax liability by several orders of magnitude – a classic tax avoidance scheme – especially since the cash gets funneled through a foreign country. There are many places overseas known for such notorious behaviour – the Cayman Islands or, if you prefer your tax avoidance closer to home, places like the island of Jersey, and there’s certainly an international furore over this activity, though it certainly does seem a bit suspicious that no one seemed to care all that much prior to the Government falling on its face in an attempt to provide funding for all its discrete parts.

Well if all else fails, milk the taxpayer, right? Is it any wonder that HMRC has been encouraged by the Government to go after every man and woman in creation that might have engaged in tax avoidance sometime between now and the credit crunch back in 2008? Why aren’t Government officials going after the millions and billions of pounds lost to multinational tax avoidance, though – wouldn’t that be much more cost-effective than this ridiculous death-of-a-thousand-paper-cuts that the taxman’s pulling?

No, instead let’s go after the little guy, the self-employed contractor that can’t afford to employ an entire accountancy department to have them at their beck and call. That sounds like a brilliant bloody idea, doesn’t it? Amazon makes money hand over fist but let’s leave off the idea of going after them. Blimey if I don’t understand the mind of a Government minister; I suppose that’s a good thing when you get right down to it though, isn’t it? I don’t want to trade in my moral authority for a few extra quid by breaking the backs of small business owners.


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