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HMRC publishes Naughty List of 800+ tax schemes

If there’s one list you don’t want to be on it’s this one: Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has published a list of more than 800 tax avoidance schemes.

The sound you’re hearing right now is a legion of cynical bastards like myself absolutely pissing themselves in laughter as this Master Naughty List goes public. Alas, there are no actual names to be seen on the document – instead it’s just line after line of numbered entries. However, any taxpayer that made use of one of these so-called ‘legitimate tax planning services’ is now going to be in for a rude awakening; in essence their number is up.

Each and every one of the schemes on this list is on there specifically because the taxman firmly believes that these are in fact deliberate tax avoidance schemes. And look sharp, because once August rolls around and HMRC gets invested with the ability to collect disputed tax payments up front, anyone using any of these schemes is in some deep trouble.

Accounting industry experts are predicting that the massive economic storm that’s brewing will likely result in a sharp increase in individual bankruptcies. Of course not every one who made use of one of these schemes is just a run of the mill contractor – many of them are rather well-known celebrities such as Katie Melua and David Beckham. Surely these folks with deep pockets will somehow weather the storm if the tax authority comes a-knocking with a bill for a few hundred thousand pounds, but I will say that the little blokes caught up in this furore are most likely going to be demolished by this development.

At the same time, I’m not exactly sympathetic to their plight either. They can protest until the cows come home, but I’m sure they were simply thinking that using one of these schemes would be a great way to keep HMRC’s grubby paws off their cash no matter the legality or morality of the plan. Chickens come home to roost after all, and these fowl are coming home with a vengeance. Just goes to show you folks: don’t muck about with tax avoidance schemes, even if they seem like they’re completely legitimate. The chance that they’re not is going to be too much of a risk to take, don’t you think?

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