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Tax avoidance spotlight on companies targeting NHS returnees

22nd April 2020

HMRC is aware that unscrupulous promoters of tax avoidance schemes are targeting workers returning to the National Health Service (NHS) to help respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

If you are returning to work for the NHS, HMRC is warning you to be very careful not to sign up to these schemes, which HMRC considers to be tax avoidance.

HMRC has added new Spotlight 54 to its list of schemes under investigation. This highlights promoters targeting workers returning to the NHS in response to Covid-19 through schemes using umbrella companies.

These schemes have certain features in common, usually involving two payments, the first being at a relatively low rate through the payroll, while the second is described as non-taxable in the form of a loan, annuity, shares, capital advance, or some form of credit facility.

HMRC advises potential employees to beware if asked to sign documents other than their contract of employment, involving loans or other advances.