Danny Alexander plans laws to tackle tax schemes
MINISTERS are contemplating new laws to ensure everyone pays their “proper share” of tax and legislating greater powers to close down tax avoidance schemes.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said he would be considering new laws “to make sure everyone pays their proper share” in the wake of revelations last week that a host of wealthy people, including footballers, financiers and celebrities were using schemes to slash their income tax bill.
Accountants were secretly recorded boasting that no matter what efforts were made by HM Revenue and Customs officials, they were able to find fresh loopholes to benefit their clients.
Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy was the latest to be dragged into the affair yesterday, as he defended his tax arrangements following claims he used his own company to pay him a loan.
Alexander was speaking after comedian Jimmy Carr was forced to apologise after it emerged he had used an offshore arrangement to slash his own income tax payments.
Possible remedies include a legal floor for tax contributions for all British residents.
Alexander said: “We are going to leave absolutely no stone unturned to make every measure that we can to close down avoidance schemes and then put in place new rules and new laws to make sure that everyone pays their proper share of tax.”
He also confirmed that HMRC will be given new powers so such schemes “can be shut down straight away”.
The Chief Secretary also hinted that Britain would pursue other tax havens to prevent British residents “squirreling” money away.
However, reports yesterday suggested that efforts by HMRC to crack down on tax avoidance are being hampered by a massive lack of resources which has left the body with a backlog of 20,000 tax tribunals.
Alexander insisted that a further 2,500 tax specialists and lawyers had been employed at HMRC in order to chase down tax avoiders.
Stars accused of tax avoidance include Take That singers Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen.
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