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Tax avoidance amnesty programme shuttered by Government

For all you high rollers with billions in tax shelters ferreted away in Lichtenstein, bad news: the Government is closing an amnesty programme specific to you.

I know this will affect so many of you. I mean you’re all just loaded with cash that you haven’t paid taxes on by sending it overseas, aren’t you? I know I am. I’m positively dripping in money I didn’t pay tax on.

All right, facetiousness aside, this will of course have an impact on British taxpayers that have been trying to find a way out of the crosshairs Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has placed on tax avoiders lately. The amnesty is actually being restricted with an end towards putting to rest the practice of employers using it to actually maximise the avoidance of their tax burden. The amnesty programme, called the Lichtenstein Disclosure Facility, might be being used by employers that had been using employee benefit trusts as a method of avoiding tax, industry officials say, and both the government of Lichtenstein and HMRC have gone forward with changing the amnesty programme to curtail the ability of anyone who used an EBT to take part.

So why is this such a big deal? Well it’s really to prevent people from double-tipping so to speak when it comes to reaching settlements with the taxman. There’s already an EBT settlement opportunity, and HMRC is clear in their language that they believe EBTs are absolutely vehicles for engaging in tax avoidance. In other words, settle now, and settle the right way, if you want to halt the inexorable march of the taxman towards your front door.

Truth be told this new movement doesn’t have too much of an impact with contractors. It does, however, impact any employer of a contractor that used either an EBT or decided to avail themselves of Lichtenstein as a place to store their funds offshore, so just be sure that you haven’t gotten yourself into something a bit dodgy and you should be fine. Then again, what do I know – I’ve got all those shedloads of cash, remember?

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