If something looks like a dead fish and smells like a dead fish, what else can it be?
That’s the question raised by Hudson Contract’s founder and chairman David Jackson after a major BBC investigation exposed questionable practices behind mini-umbrella schemes.
BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 revealed how thousands of people from the Philippines have been recruited to front British companies as part of complex arrangements to cut National Insurance contributions when hiring temporary workers.
It is generally more difficult for HMRC to pursue companies with directors in other legal jurisdictions.
Tax expert Jolyon Maugham QC claimed the schemes are likely to be costing the UK “hundreds of millions of pounds” in lost taxes.
The hard-hitting documentary, Britain’s Ghost Companies, alleged that a Worcestershire company called Aspire Outsourcing was acting as accountants to the Filipino directors. The BBC obtained a recording of a representative from Aspire speaking at a recruitment event in Manilla.
Aspire told the BBC that it is not involved in any large scale tax avoidance scheme and does not offer advice on tax avoidance schemes. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing.
Hudson Contract is advising construction companies to beware using mini-umbrella schemes.