Landlords to be responsible for tenants tobacco tax evasion?Make Text Bigger
Just received the following from Local Landlords Association (Devon);
HMRC consultation on preventing tobacco duty evasion: property implications
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has published a consultation on proposals to tackle tobacco duty evasion and other excise duty evasion. This follows an informal consultation in which several respondents suggested imposing a duty of care on landlords where there was evasion.
Property practitioners will be interested to note that the consultation includes two key proposals (in section 6):
- That HMRC would write to landlords and landowners associations asking them to voluntarily add a clause to their standard leases prohibiting illicit tobacco trading and other illicit excise trading.
- That there would be new legislation imposing a duty of care on landlords and landowners of properties used in tobacco (or other excise duty) fraud. They would be under a duty of care to ensure that their properties are not used to evade duty, and there would be a civil penalty for non-compliance with this duty.
There would be a defence for landlords or landowners who took reasonable steps to prevent future wrongdoings in their properties. For example, there would be a defence where:
- The relevant lease provides for termination where there is any illicit tobacco trading (or any other illicit excise activity), and the landlord evicts anyone who subsequently violates these provisions.
- Landlords conduct periodic checks on their premises.
- The consultation also seeks views on what reasonable steps landlords and landowners could be expected to take to address the issue of illicit trade in their properties, as well as the possible sanctions HMRC could apply to landlords and landowners who had not taken such adequate steps.
The consultation will close on 12 May 2017.
Source: HMRC: Open consultation: Sanctions to tackle tobacco duty evasion and other excise duty evasion (17 February 2017).
Is this another case of ‘Passing the buck ‘ and making Landlords do the Job for the HMRC ?
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