HMRC adds healthcare sector scheme provider Charteris Management Ltd to tax avoiders list

Concern is being raised for healthcare sector contractors after Charteris Management Ltd was added to HMRC’s updated list of tax avoidance schemes to avoid using.

According to the Revenue’s November 24th update, the scheme from ‘CML’ is targeted predominantly at physiotherapists, radiographers, nurses and social workers.

Former tax officer Graham Webber says the scheme’s inclusion on HMRC’s list represents a “move down the economic demographic” from scheme users identified previously.

'Individuals, not brollies, typically chased'

“In naming firms, HMRC puts individual users on notice that there is something to investigate and that potentially tax has been underpaid,” warned Mr Webber, now of WTT Consulting.

“The history of HMRC's actions in contractor schemes….is that they prefer to chase individual contractors -- and not the umbrella.”

Worried for individuals who used CML, IWORK says HMRC’s identification of healthcare workers and NHS ancillary staff might actually help bust a myth.

'Average earners'

“Tax schemes have a reputation for being sought by well-off people who want to pay minimal tax and maximise the efficiency of their money – this is a misconception,” says IWORK’s Julia Kermode.

“The reality is, these schemes often target average earners, such as NHS workers, who are feeling the pinch of wages not keeping up with inflation.”

Kermode echoed Webber’s warning that it is the workers, not the scheme or company behind the scheme, that is often “left with a tax bill.”

'Massive risk'

And in the case of CML, qualified solicitor Fred Dures says the scheme’s users might feel extra stung because they were explicitly told they were protected.

“Charteris Management promises to make the lives of contractors easier when, in fact, the opposite is true,” said Mr Dures, pointing to CML’s online “guarantee….[of] peace of mind and security.”

Boss of payslip audit firm Paye Pass, Dures added: “Tax avoidance schemes operating under the guise of umbrella companies pose a massive risk to anyone working with them – whether contractors, recruitment agencies or the end- client.”

'Recover any duty lost'

Online, Alastair Kendrick, director of AK Employment Tax Service Ltd reiterated: “Those in the supply chain need to be aware [that] if there is a failure to deal with tax correctly by an intermediary, then HMRC can look to anyone in the supply chain to recover any duty lost.”

On its updated blacklist, HMRC names not just CML, but also several businesses linked to the Manchester-based business, some of which were ‘named and shamed’ by HMRC previously.

Those businesses include; Taurus Limited (incorporated IoM); Howe Consultancy Limited (incorporated IoM); Griffith Anderson Limited; Integra Resourcing Ltd (incorporated Malta); Jeceris Limited and Ombros Solutions Limited.

'Are contractors even aware of the list?'

Alerting her online followers to HMRC’s updated blacklist, Kermode said: “Agencies -- make sure you know who you're working with and recommending to your workers. Don't just take things at face value. Make sure you do your own checks.”

Interestingly, it is up to industry bosses like Kermode to circulate the list, according to SAW Consulting, because “how visible” the list is (by just being published on HMRC’s website), is an issue.

“Are contractors even aware that this HMRC list of avoiders exists?” the consulting firm’s founder Shelley Ankers-Wainwright asked ContractorUK.

'List does nothing'

A specialist in umbrella company compliance, Ms Ankers Wainwright also said: “Also, while I’m all for the ‘naming and shaming,’ the list simply allows ‘customers’ to decide whether or not they want to engage with the scheme.

“So the list does nothing to shut down the companies and while it’s pleasing to see the list getting bigger, sadly we know this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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