There is an iconic scene in the film Jurassic Park where a pack of velociraptors cooperate to take out the game warden. His final words are “Clever girl…” It might feel like that when two regulators join forces, and a recent ASA ruling demonstrates just that.
Williams Gordon offer various structures to help contractors provide their services, including the administration of umbrella companies. While there’s nothing wrong in principle with such structures, they can be combined with tax planning / tax avoidance and sometimes lead to disputes with HMRC.
Williams Gordon made claims on their website about their structures being fully tax compliant, and HMRC complained because they did not agree. The ASA agreed that Williams Gordon were not able to back up their claims sufficiently and upheld all complaints.
It’s an interesting example of HMRC using all the tools at its disposal to tackle those who offer what might be perceived as tax avoidance schemes.
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Williams Gordon Ltd to ensure they held sufficient evidence for their claims and to disclose any relevant information in their advertising, such as the implications or risks of entering into a financial arrangement, including a challenge to a user’s tax arrangements by HMRC and the charges which might apply.