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Volume 929: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1977

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I intend to take further action to deal with tax avoidance. It is intolerable that when the overwhelming majority of men and women pay their taxes honestly, a small number of wealthy corporations or individuals should escape their responsibilities to society by tax dodging on a massive scale.

First, there is increasing evidence of some particularly objectionable avoidance schemes designed to manufacture wholly artificial capital losses by shifting value from one asset to another. I am sure that there will be general agreement that they should be stopped.

Second, I propose to deal with certain highly artificial schemes under which taxpayers undertake to pay annuities for a consideration which is not taxable, or not wholly taxable, in their hands. The Inland Revenue is challenging these schemes under the present law, but I propose to introduce provisions designed to annul them. These provisions will apply to payments made after today.