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Another tax avoidance scheme bites the dust

The final nail has been driven into the coffin of yet another tax avoidance scheme this week, much to the chagrin of the firm making use of it.

It’s true: the tax courts have thrown out the so’called ‘Project Sussex’ tax avoidance scheme roundly on its ear for the second and hopefully final time. The scheme, which was the brainchild of Ernst & Young and was used extensively by brewer Greene King, has been a target of harsh criticism for its highly complex one.The Old Speckled Hen brewer had been hoping to avoid paying its fair share on a massive £21 million of interest, but now it’s in some serious hot water as a result.

The backlash against both Ernst & Young and Greene King has been rather robust during the whole process. It’s been some time since news of the investigation into the tax avoidance scheme went public, and with tax avoidance and tax evasion being such a hot-button issue at the moment there was no doubt that many consumers decided to boycott the products and services of both firms as a result. Honestly I think that anyone involved in such a boycott should be praised, as it shows these companies that you shouldn’t be rewarded for your nefarious attempts at getting around paying what you owe to HMRC.

I mean let’s be serious here for a moment. The Treasury has been leaving no stone unturned in its quest to maximise tax revenues lately. Even the lowliest contract worker and freelancer has been feeling the squeeze; did Ernst & Young and Greene King truly think they would squeeze by unnoticed by the by-now paranoid and frantic eye of the taxman? It’s just this ind of hubris and bare arrogance that makes companies think they can get away with murder, and I for one am tired of it.

Many of these companies like to gamble by adopting new tax avoidance schemes that haven’t been ruled upon yet, even in the hopes that the time they get to operate under the scheme before it’s declared will result in enough tax savings for it to be worthwhile. It’s vile and underhanded and I can’t believe actions like that are permitted in the current day and age! To hell with Greene King and its lackey accountant.

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