Tax – avoidance or evasion

To the average person whose only concern is whether they have correctly rounded up their building society interest on their tax return the tax machinations of multi-national corporations must seem not just a world away but more like on another planet. Just within the last few days Microsoft has been reported to have avoided paying £100 million a year in tax thanks to an agreement which it reached with HMRC; whilst on the other side of the equation research has revealed that HMRC’s tax evasion workload rose by 8% in the year to April 2016.

It’s easy to say that tax avoidance is optimising benefit through legitimate use of tax legislation but with evasion increasingly being seen as a matter not just of legislation but of conscience the lines between right and wrong are increasingly becoming blurred. Where does that leave the ordinary taxpayer, the small partnership or the SME; how do they react when filling in their tax returns or taking advantage of government introduced initiatives such as ISAs, venture capital or enterprise investment schemes?

The fact is that schemes such as these have been introduced by successive governments not simply as a way of individuals avoiding tax but more as a method of boosting investment in the economy and driving long-term growth. So when we talk about efficient tax planning we should remember that it can be a two-way street, benefiting the country as well as the individual.

If you would like to speak to a tax adviser about efficient tax planning, please contact Newshams Tax Advisers on 0800 211 8657 or email us at



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