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HMRC names AML Tax (UK) Limited & three schemes linked to Mone’s husband as tax avoidance


AML Tax (UK) Limited, a company linked to the Knox Group, is linked to three tax avoidance schemes by HM Revenue and Customs.

Douglas Barrowman, Lady Money’s husband since they married on the Isle of Man in November 2020, is the founder and chairman of the Knox Group, a financial services and wealth management firm based on the island.

  1. Three payment programmes operated by AML Tax (UK) Limited, a company linked to the husband of the Conservative peer Michelle Mone are named as tax avoidance schemes by HM Revenue and Customs.
  1. Concerning the three AML schemes named this week, Mary Aiston, HMRC’s director of counter-avoidance, said:
    • “These schemes are cynically marketed as clever ways to pay less tax.
    • The truth is they rarely work in the way the promoters claim, and the users end up with big tax bills.
    • HMRC will continue to use all the powers at our disposal to crack down on promoters.
    • “Anyone who thinks they may be involved in a tax avoidance scheme, or have been approached by a scheme promoter, should contact us as soon as possible to get help.”

BACKGROUND - The Knox Group & AML Tax (UK) Ltd,
  1. HMRC said a Manchester-based company, AML Tax (UK) Ltd, which ran the three newly named tax avoidance schemes, was
    • “A part of Doug Barrowman’s Isle of Man-based Knox Group”.
  1. HMRC won legal cases against AML last year under tax laws that require companies to notify HMRC of payment schemes that should be classified as tax avoidance schemes because one of the “main benefits” is to obtain a “tax advantage”.
  2. AML’s director, Arthur Lancaster, told the tax tribunal last year that
    • AML was part of the Knox Group,
    • Together with other companies such as Knox House Trust, of which Lancaster was the chairman in 2019.
  3. In March, HMRC also won a separate legal case against AML, which was fined £150,000 after being found not to have provided details to the tax authority required by law. In this case,
    • Lancaster was said by the tribunal to have been “evasive” and displayed “a lack of candour” in some of the evidence he gave.
  1. HMRC also linked AML to Barrowman’s Knox Group at that time, stating in a press release announcing the result of the case: “Doug Barrowman tax avoidance firm fined,” and saying:
    • “A company which has aggressively promoted tax avoidance schemes in the UK for years has been fined £150,000 for failing to provide HMRC with the legally required information.
  1. Also, in relation to some of the evidence Lancaster gave in a different legal case, he was described as “disingenuous” and “increasingly evasive” by the tax tribunal judge Tracey Bowler, who classed two of the AML schemes as tax avoidance.
  1. “AML Tax (UK) Limited, directed by ARTHUR LANCASTER AND PART OF DOUG BARROWMAN’S Isle of Man based Knox Group, was fined £150,000 after HMRC brought an upper tribunal case over the firm’s failure to comply with formal information notices as part of a tax investigation.”
  1. A source at HMRC said its growing policy of publicly naming such schemes is part of a strategy aimed at deterring people from signing up for them, and ultimately driving the schemes out of business.
  2. The UK tax authority’s enforcement actions have attracted intense controversy in recent years because people working in relatively modestly paid jobs, who were paid through such schemes, have been hit with large bills after HMRC succeeded in establishing that insufficient tax had been paid.
  3. In its campaign, “Tax avoidance – don’t get caught out”, HMRC features a nurse and an IT project manager who signed up for schemes, not stated to be those of AML, that offered to maximise their take-home pay, but who were later subjected to large bills for tax that was avoided.


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