By Claire West

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has won a key court case defeating a widely-marketed scheme to avoid stamp duty land tax. The decision, subject to any appeal, could save more than £170 million for the UK Exchequer.

The new rules will give HMRC much better access to information about these avoidance schemes and those who promote and use them. They can then be challenged and closed down more quickly.

HMRC’s Director General of Business Tax, Jim Harra, said:

“This victory at the First Tier Tribunal sends a clear message to tax avoiders that we will challenge avoidance relentlessly. The decision is good news for the vast majority of taxpayers who pay, rather than try to dodge, their taxes. It shows that the courts will see through arrangements which are put in place just to avoid tax.

“People who are tempted by tax advisers to enter into avoidance schemes should think twice and not be driven by greed into signing up for schemes that are just too good to be true.”