HMRC & ASA get tough on SDLT marketing

HMRC and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have joined forces to clamp down on misleading marketing as part of stamp duty and tax avoidance schemes.

The Treasury released a statement, which said:

“The joint enforcement notice aims to disrupt the activity of promoters and protect people from being presented with misleading adverts which may tempt them into tax avoidance.”

HMRC’s Spotlight series about Tax avoidance schemes is published on the gov.uk website and details the warning signs people should look out for.

What are HMRC and the ASA doing?

The collaboration has set out the requirements which details that promoters must be clear about the potential consequences of stamp duty and other tax avoidance in any online adverts.

Any promoters found to be breaking the rules will face immediate sanctions, which include having their paid advertising removed from search engines and follow-up compliance action, which can include being reported to Trading Standards.

Jesse Norman MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, says:

“The government has made clear its determination to clamp down on the promoters of tax avoidance schemes…

“We would encourage people to pay close attention to HMRC’s warnings not to enter tax avoidance schemes. If it looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is.”

Miles Lockwood, director of complaints and investigations at the ASA, adds:

“This notice serves as a clear warning to promoters of tax avoidance schemes – get your houses in order and ensure your ads comply with the law and our advertising rules, or face enforcement action…

“Working with bodies such as HMRC is helping us to better protect consumers from misleading and unfair advertising that can leave them out of pocket.”

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