Summer 2006 Newsletter


Brave New World

Business Not Pleasure

Summertime Blues

All That Glitters...

Casting The Net

Trust Gordon?

It Ain't Over...

One In The Eye

Keep Your Nose Clean

Foreign Affairs

When Is A Car...

Don't Walk Away

Avoiding, The Issue

Brown Is Anti-PC

VAT's Up Doc?

Fuel's Gold

An Age-old Question?

That's Unfair!

Year In Year Out

How Hard To Try?

It's A Rip-Off!

Outlaws Win

Show Some Restraint

Not Our Problem

They Cannot Be Serious?


Pension Disappointments

All That Glitters...

The Government is very down on clever tax avoidance schemes. Mr Brown seems to be convinced that there would be plenty of money for all his spending plans, if only people would do the decent thing and pay up. The rules now require anyone selling tax schemes to let the Revenue know so they can challenge them, and each Budget comes with a new list of crackdowns.

It was not too different back in the 1990s, but some of the schemes seemed less sophisticated. Each year there was a new way of avoiding paying National Insurance Contributions on big bonuses. They were paid in unit trusts, then fine wine, offshore gold deposits, even platinum sponge (whatever that is - no-one ever saw any, even if they were paid in it). The government closed the schemes down as fast as they could, but more kept springing up.

Now we find that they are still fighting the battles of yesteryear. In a recent case the Appeal Commissioners had to look at the payment of bonuses in Napoleon gold coins - back in 1994. They decided that NICs could not be avoided by this particular method, as the whole arrangement was clearly a way of putting cash in the directors' hands. The Revenue must be very satisfied: the case shows they have a long memory and a long reach.

Increasingly, "cunning plans" to avoid tax are risky - at the very least, they are likely to provoke an argument with the authorities, and even if you win that may not be worth the trouble. If you hear of any plan that sounds tempting, we will be happy to discuss the pros and cons with you.