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HMRC sends out poison pen letters to tax avoidance experts

In a rather polite yet passive-aggressive move, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has sent letters out to tax avoidance experts how they’re about to be exposed.

Well, it’s already common knowledge that many of these tax advisers exist – I mean it’s not as if they hide in the shadows. What might not be so readily apparent is that they’re all considered by the taxman to be purveyors of aggressive tax avoidance schemes. The letters warn these tax advisers to hold on to their trousers, because HMRC is planning to publicly denounce them and any of their clients that decided to engage in a bit of the old tax dodge.

It’s the whole ‘name and shame’ business that the tax authority has been threatening for a while, relying not on regulatory enticements for tax avoiders to come forward but instead harnessing the awe-inspiring power of bad publicity. Not only that, but it makes one hell of a deterrent if you’re a contractor or a small business owner and you know you’ll be called out by the bloody taxman in a public setting if you use one of these tax dodging schemes.

Treasury minister David Gauke of course is chuffed to bits over this new initiative, as it bears all the earmarks of strongarm tactics that will likely work in cracking down on these tax avoidance schemes. In a way this is the last and best option for HMRC, as legal loopholes wide enough to drive a lorry through have been letting businesses get away with the taxation equivalent of murder for far too long; now the vultures are coming home to roost, and it’s likely that the bones will be picked clean and end up bleaching in the sun in very short order.

Does that sound a bit macabre to you? I’m sorry, I’m just more than a little giddy at the prospect of tax avoiders having their dirty laundry laid bare for everyone to see. If there was a public spectacle I would be the first in line, waiting all night for the theatre to open, just so I could be right there in the front row so I could point and laugh. I might even throw a few rotten tomatoes as well, if I could only suss out how to get them past security without getting nicked.

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