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Disguised remuneration – panic averted?

23 February 2011

In December 2010 HM Revenue and Customs (“HMRC”) published its draft “Disguised Remuneration” legislation in relation to which it launched a two month consultation period. Broadly, the anti-avoidance provisions are designed to accelerate income tax and NIC charges where employees and directors are remunerated via third-party arrangements.

However, the proposed drafting was so wide that there were concerns that the legislation could (unintentionally?) apply to various legitimate remuneration structures, including non-approved share incentive schemes involving an Employee Benefit Trust, even where there was no tax avoidance/deferral intention.

The consultation period has now come to a close and HMRC has published a set of FAQs in response. Whilst these clarify that some changes will be made to the draft legislation, e.g., in relation to allocating shares for certain employee share plans, they do not address all concerns. Many are therefore still anxious to see the final form legislation, which is expected by the end of March.

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