On 22 July 2015, HMRC published a consultation document on improving large business tax compliance. Comments were sought by 14 October 2015. Under the proposals, a “large” business would be one with a turnover in excess of £200m and/or a balance sheet total of more than £2bn for the prior financial year.

This latest development should be seen against the continuing backdrop of the Government being seen to tackle ‘unacceptable’ tax avoidance/planning. From reading the document what is very clear is that the Government is increasingly looking at behaviour that goes against the “spirit” of tax legislation.

Amongst the proposals:

  • large businesses would be compelled to publish their tax strategies (ie their attitude to tax risk and approach to their relationship with HMRC)
  • a “voluntary” code of tax practice would be introduced for large businesses (possibly similar to that already in place in the banking industry)
  • “special measures” would be introduced for those large businesses that persistently undertake aggressive tax planning, or refuse to adequately engage with HMRC.

The consultation document can be found here.