Frank Field MP
Your MP for Birkenhead
don't read the menu options and go directly to the page content 

Chancellor urged to recover money lost from recruitment sector tax avoidance


11 July 2017
Guardian

The chancellor is being asked to reassure parliament that he will recover any monies lost to aggressive tax avoidance in the recruitment sector, after a Guardian investigation exposed how millions of pounds could be lost to the exchequer.

Frank Field MP, who is due to be reconfirmed as the chairman of the House of Commons work and pensions select committee on Wednesday, is also asking the Treasury if it has calculated the impact on tax revenues of the liquidation of companies linked to Anderson Group, one of the recruitment sector’s leading financial services firms that promoted a scheme where almost 2,000 mini companies are now being simultaneously wound up.

In a series of parliamentary questions on the subject, Field asked: “What assessment has [the chancellor] made of HMRC’s ability to investigate and recover tax revenue lost to aggressive tax avoidance schemes promoted by the Anderson Group and others?”

He also asked: “What assessment [the chancellor] has made of the impact of the mass liquidation of mini companies associated with the Anderson Group on tax revenue?”

The move by Field comes after the latest exposé on this type of scheme, designed to save tax by setting up thousands of tiny firms to exploit VAT and national insurance rules that were originally designed to help very small businesses.

The arrangements were supposed to work by transferring contracts of low-paid workers from a single large employment agency into a web of tiny companies. So, if an employment agency previously supplied a warehouse with 300 workers, the scheme’s promoters might create 150 new companies, each employing two workers.

Many of those mini companies linked to Anderson were put into voluntary liquidation at the end of 2016 – a move that post-dated HMRC’s fraud and investigation service asking the company for details about the large numbers of VAT registration applications made on behalf of its clients.

Tax experts, who questioned if the structure of the Anderson scheme might trigger a possible criminal investigation, also told the Guardian that the mass liquidation makes it extremely difficult to pursue the defunct firms for any potential VAT or national insurance debt – particularly as each mini company appears to only have a Philippines-based director and barely any retained assets.

Anderson Group did not respond to an invitation to comment on Field’s questions.

In a statement previously issued in response to the Guardian’s request for comment, group commercial director Steven Zahab said: “Anderson Group is a global provider of support services across a range of markets and sectors. In all cases our services are provided in accordance with the law as it stands and, where appropriate, under advisement from counsel.

“If the law changes, then our services do so as appropriate. We constantly seek QC or other professional opinion to ensure that we act within the rules at all times.”

The questions are scheduled to receive a response next week. HMRC did not comment.

Simon Goodley, The Guardian


back

Bookmark with:

website by Hudson Berkley Reinhart Ltd