Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, has announced Government proposals to crack down on the promoters of “contrived and aggressive” tax avoidance schemes.

The proposals include giving HMRC stronger powers, through the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) to force promoters to tell them about avoidance schemes and make it easier to impose penalties for failure to provide information to HMRC about a scheme.

Mr Gauke stated that reforms to the DOTAS were required as a result of a changing avoidance landscape. However, the proposed reforms are proving controversial, particularly given that they could result in the requirement to disclose client lists.

The consultation coincides with the publication of ICAEW guidelines which set out the key indicators of tax avoidance schemes. The guidelines reiterate the requirement for members to comply with their professional conduct obligations when advising on such schemes, including the requirement to uphold the reputation of the profession.

The Treasury’s consultation closes on 15 October 2012.