Ebt Articles

‘Too good to be true’ payment scheme users risk bankruptcy

A recently concluded court case could have far-reaching consequences for contractors on ‘too good to be true’ tax avoidance schemes.

In a warning sign to contractors that are thinking about using a dodgy ‘too good to be true’ remuneration scheme, MPs have been told that users of one type of tax avoidance scheme could risk bankruptcy in the near future.

The charge centres on a recently concluded Supreme Court Case between Rangers Football Club and HMRC and a tax avoidance scheme where an offshore Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) paid players and other staff through loans. 

If you are a contractor or freelancer working in the UK you may have been pitched the tax benefits of paying yourself through an Employee Benefit Trust (EBT).

With an EBT contractors receive just a basic wage equivalent to the Statutory National Minimum Wage. The remainder of their gross earnings go into an EBT, usually offshore. The company making the payment also claims Corporation Tax relief on these payments. The trust then “loans” back the money to the contractor and this loan is not therefore taxable. The loan is never repaid. In effect you receive your wages tax free.

EBT’s have been used from such professions as IT Contractors to Premier League Footballers.