Anybody who advises a friend to take out an ISA or gives them a similar tax-saving tip risks a £5,000 fine, experts warned yesterday.
They attacked proposed powers for HM Revenue and Customs contained in the Tax Agents: Deliberate Wrongdoing draft Bill, which is trying to crack down on any 'tax agent' whose advice leads to a 'loss of tax' for HMRC, the Daily Mail reports.
The HMRC definition of a 'tax agent' includes anybody who gives tax advice 'free of charge' and 'otherwise than in the course of business', not just tax professionals.
It will make it an offence to hold any conversation - even in private, with friends - if it offers clues on how to pay less tax, which could include a person who mentions to a friend in the pub an ISA is a way of saving £10,200 a year tax-free.
Professor Anne Redston, a tax and legal expert from King's College London, described the proposed legislation as 'dangerous, disproportionate and an erosion of fundamental freedoms'.
The Chartered Institute of Taxation called for the draft Bill containing the powers to be 'torn up'.
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