THE HUNDRED GROUP of finance directors has thrown its weight behind government consultations designed to scupper tax avoidance, it has emerged.
The influential group of the UK’s top FDs has backed the ‘lifting the lid on tax avoidance schemes’ (LLTAS) initiative, which would see current disclosure of tax avoidance schemes (DOTAS) facilities extended and included the proposal that the taxman can request client lists from firms and individuals suspected of providing abusive schemes.
It also expressed its support for the general anti-abuse rule (GAAR), which is likely to come into force in April next year. The GAAR is designed to gauge the ‘reasonableness’ of tax schemes – and stamp out those deemed as contrived.
In the LLTAS response, in a letter to HMRC, the group’s tax committee chairman Andrew Bonfield said “there should be a better public awareness of tax avoidance arrangements and their risks and believe there could be a case for revisions to the DOTAS hallmarks”.
In the group’s response to the GAAR consultation, it recommends the inclusion of the words “abnormal” and “contrived” in the definition of tax schemes falling within GAAR’s scope.
In responses to the two proposals, Bonfield said the body “agrees with the government’s stance on unacceptable tax avoidance and support the steps being taken, including the introduction of a GAAR”.
Bonfield, who has been chairman of the tax committee of the Hundred Group since 2010, is CFO of National Grid.
Companies reported increased levels of scrutiny over their tax planning strategies last year as fewer FDs understand what HMRC considers as tax avoidance, according to HMRC’s latest large business survey
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