Labour vows to double fines on tax avoidance

Joseph Millis
THE LABOUR Party yesterday pledged to double the fines on people who aggressively avoided tax, if it won the next election.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said this would be a “tough and genuine deterrent”.

Balls said Labour had supported the introduction of the government’s anti-abuse rule, which stated that if someone’s tax arrangement was found to be “abusive”, they must pay back the tax they would have avoided. However, he added that these were “without teeth”.

He added: “Those who are caught have to repay the tax they tried to avoid, but they do not face a penalty. There is still no disincentive to try and game the system.

“That is why Labour will bring in a tough penalty regime… with fines of up to 100 per cent of the value of the tax, which was avoided.”

The shadow chancellor said aggressive tax avoiders should be treated the same as people who cheat the welfare system.

He added: “Through measures such as this we can ensure that no-one pays zero tax at the top so we can get the deficit down fairly, invest in our NHS, and maintain public support for the dynamic open economy we need.”

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