Paradise Papers show moral tide is turning on tax, says Dorset expert

A Dorset-based financial planning expert is urging individuals, businesses and professional advisers to heed the message of the so-called Paradise Papers scandal and ensure tax affairs are kept above board.

Gary Neild, Managing Director of Blue Sky Financial Planning in Poole, said the “net is tightening on illegal or aggressive tax evasion schemes which are entirely separate from minimising your liability through lawful means”.

He pointed to a raft of new criminal offences being rolled out by HMRC to criminalise professionals involved in tax evasion, including the charge of “failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion”.

Mr Neild said: “There have long been penalties for lawyers, accountants and other professionals who fail to disclose tax avoidance schemes to HMRC. The difference now is that if you are acting in the best interests of client, you should be saying to them: ‘Do you really think your tax affairs would pass muster with Parliament and the press, let alone HMRC?’. The moral tide is most definitely turning and everyone should play by the book.”

He added: “The good news is that you can offset tax legally through a wide range of government-approved schemes, from capital allowances for businesses to self-invested personal pensions for individuals. There are many ways to reduce your tax liability ethically and within the law, giving you not only a financial benefit but also peace of mind.”

Mr Neild’s advice comes in the aftermath of a huge leak of financial information, dubbed the Paradise Papers.

The disclosures have shed light on the tax affairs of hundreds of companies and high-net-worth individuals, many of whom are using complex, questionable structures and offshore havens to shield their wealth from tax authorities.

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