An independent panel set up to advise on disputes over potentially abusive tax arrangements has backed HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in deciding that paying staff in the form of gold bullion should be outlawed.
This form of employee incentive arrangement is “abnormal”, according to the GAAR Advisory Panel. The panel was created in 2013 to coincide with the entry into force of the general anti-abuse rule (GAAR). It provides guidance and non-binding opinions on cases where HMRC considers that the GAAR may apply.
It is the first ruling by the panel in the new law designed to combat “morally repugnant” tax avoidance schemes.
HMRC had said accountants had created schemes designed to “disguise remuneration to individuals through paying them via a series of transactions buying and selling an asset, commonly gold bullion”.
People, particularly in parts of the City, have been paid in all sorts of assets , from wine, Persian carpets, Turkish lira, gold bullion through to platinum.
“HMRC has already made clear that gold bullion avoidance schemes don’t work and that we will challenge these schemes wherever possible,” the tax agency said, reacting to the panel’s ruling.
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