The recent UK Autumn Budget 2021 has seen a dramatic beefing up of the powers available to HMRC to investigate and penalise tax arrangements put in place by, what it regards as, tax avoidance scheme promoters.  This STEP article outlines the slew of new measures that allow HMRC to freeze the assets of the relevant promoter, impose significant financial penalties and even wind up the companies involved.

Of most concern to any taxpayers utilising such schemes will be the public scrutiny that HMRC publishing information with only 30 days' notice could bring upon them.  These new significant steps will no doubt further reduce the appeal of such aggressive planning.  Indeed, HMRC's new Taxpayer Protection Taskforce will no doubt have a focused remit on investigating the tax affairs of those who have chosen to utilise such schemes.

At the same time, it must be borne in mind that a number of high profile figures, including well-known celebrities, state they were not advised properly when being recommended to enter into such planning and are actively suing their advisors for, they allege, pushing them into such schemes without properly explaining the risks involved.  It would certainly seem that the companies and individuals still actively promoting such schemes will struggle to avoid severe sanction under this new legislation and that their days may well be numbered.