Crackdown on the tax dodgers and cheats to raise £9bn

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A promise to act against unscrupulous business people who avoid paying taxes and deny workers basic rights like the minimum wage, has been made by the Chancellor George Osborne.

In his Autumn statement, Mr Osborne set out the largest package of measures to tackle tax avoidance, tax evasion, fraud and error so far this Parliament.

He added: “Together it will raise over £9bn over the next five years. We’re going to tackle the growth of intermediaries disguising employment as false self-employment, depriving workforces of basic employment rights like the minimum wage in a bid to avoid employer national insurance.

“We’ll halve the final period exemption for capital gains tax private residence relief. We will end the abuse of dual contracts, offshore oil and gas contracting, derivatives linked to profits and share buybacks. And we will ensure the tax advantages of partnerships aren’t abused either.

“We are introducing a new, limited power that requires people to pay upfront their taxes where the scheme they used has already been struck down by the courts.”

John Harding, PwC’s northern employment tax leader, said: “The Chancellor’s statements about tackling abusive structures that disguise an individual’s true employment status are to be welcomed, but the devil will be in the detail. It is important the detail doesn’t discourage employment intermediaries that are used for real commercial and employment engagement purposes.”

According to Mr Harding, these include employers who are meeting the needs of their workforce or where individuals have multiple employment arrangements, and have chosen to base themselves and their companies in the UK.

Suzy Brain England, regional chairman of the Institute of Directors, said: “We would like to have seen the Chancellor publicly acknowledging the right of businesses to undertake authentic tax planning, as opposed to tax evasion, which HMRC are, quite rightly, more determined to prevent.”