Tax avoidance costing £10 billion

04 March 2006
The UK's economy is losing out on £10 billion a year as a result of tax avoidance schemes such as offshore trust funds.

However, the government has now pledged to eliminate tax avoidance in the next two years by removing the incentives.

The figure of £10 billion was given to BBC Two's The Money Programme by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The BBC's programme described how employees at many big financial organisations were previously able to avoid being taxed by accepting bonuses in the form of diamonds, gold and other valuables such as antiques.

The money saved was sometimes split between the employee and the rest of the company.

However, when the Revenue began to make this more difficult, the preferred technique changed to investment in offshore trusts.

People can then access this money in the form of a long-term and sometimes interest-free loan.

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