HMRC seem to be making progress in their attempts to discourage, and recover unpaid tax, from participators in tax avoidance schemes.
In a recent high profile case, HMRC have recovered more than £434m in unpaid taxes from users of the tax avoidance scheme promoted by the Ingenious Film Partnership. Their scheme tried to use artificial losses arising from investments in a range of movies, including the blockbusters Avatar, Life of Pi and Die Hard 4.
Director General of Enforcement & Compliance Jennie Granger said:
“These were some of the biggest films of all time, and the schemes involved people claiming far more in tax than they invested in the first place. We always say that if something is too good to be true then it probably is. And in this case the long legal battle will mean that investors face even bigger bills for interest and legal costs.”
In a second win for HMRC, they were successful in stopping a scheme by Icebreaker who attempted to create artificial losses from investments in limited liability partnerships.
For both schemes users claimed more in tax relief than they had invested.
The Icebreaker decision is HMRC’s second win against the scheme, following a victory in the First Tier Tribunal in 2014. The total tax at stake was £134 million.
This means that HMRC has now secured more than £1.2 billion in disputed tax from wins in avoidance litigation since the beginning of April.