Tax avoidance schemes using Lloyds of London brand to promote their offer.

We have recently been approached by a contractor who has been targeted by aggressive marketing campaigns claiming to be fully insured by Lloyds of London. The contractor received a continual stream of email correspondence from a group of companies that all appear to be linked to the same outfit; a company called Tandem Strategies who market for a company called Brightstreams Ventures.

The most recent claims that the contractor has received came from a “new” player to the market called Lower Your Tax Burden, a referral scheme which seems to be operated by a previous player in the industry. In complete frustration the contractor has made direct contact with Lloyds of London to see what they have to say about “endorsing” these schemes: I am deeply concerned about a stream of emails I have been receiving from a number of aggressive tax-avoidance companies claiming to be fully insured by Lloyds of London.

What I wanted you to know:
1. The only payment method recognised by HMRC as not tax-avoidance is PAYE.
2. The scheme is aggressive and will be challenged
3. Merely the presence of a scheme insurance policy will deem it tax avoidance
4. If HMRC successfully challenge 1 person (and they will) new rules will allow them to approach all users under a pay now fight later regulation
5. You are about to be inundated with complaints from contractors who think you insure or indemnify their tax avoidance scheme.
6. The sales teams are selling this as a guarantee.

Perhaps I’ve got this all wrong, so please tell me if you really are insuring (guaranteeing) a tax-avoidance scheme I will sign up tomorrow and tell all my friends. I suspect you’re not and would welcome your thoughts on the matter. So what did Lloyds of London have to say?

While we do not discuss publicly any on-going investigation, as you are considering investment in the company based upon their purported insurance with Lloyd’s, please note that we have seen nothing to date to indicate that the companies you have identified are in any way insured by Lloyd’s and we have requested that all references to Lloyd’s be removed from the sites.

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