Five promoters arrested on suspicion of loan charge fraud
Four men and one woman have been arrested on suspicion of fraud in connection with promoting arrangements designed to get around paying the loan charge.
More than 100 HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers searched business premises in Birmingham and further addresses in Coventry, Worcestershire, Northumberland, Buckinghamshire and Northern Ireland, where they seized computers and other digital devices, as well as business and personal records.
The HMRC warned that those that enable, promote or facilitate tax fraud are firmly in the authority's sights. It revealed that it currently has more than 200 such suspected enablers under criminal investigation.
“We are keen to protect the public from those who devise and market fraudulent schemes which at best do not work and at worse mean that people could end up being involved in fraud," a spokesman from HMRC’s fraud investigation service said.
The HMRC noted that all five people arrested will be interviewed under caution by its officers, while a sixth person, a 39-year-old woman from Birmingham, will attend a voluntary interview under caution.
The interventions are the latest in a series where HMRC is investigating fraud offences related to disguised remuneration tax avoidance schemes.
Disguised remuneration schemes are contrived arrangements that pay loans in place of an ordinary remuneration, usually through an offshore trust, with the purpose of avoiding Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs). The loans are provided on terms that mean they are not repaid in practice, HMRC said.
The tax authority advised that no further information can be released at this time as investigations are ongoing.