Anderson Group refutes Guardian story over link to ‘tax avoidance scheme’

The Guardian newspaper reports that what it called “an aggressive tax avoidance scheme” linked to recruitment industry financial services provider Anderson Group is being liquidated.

The newspaper goes on to allege that the move to liquidate could prevent HM Revenue & Customs from “recouping millions of pounds”. It does not provide a timeframe or specific dates for the alleged liquidation activity. 

Anderson Group contend that the story published online late yesterday afternoon was “a rehash” of a May 2015 BBC report, going on to say: “We were quite clear about the inaccuracies and misrepresentations in the original story at the time. Once again, the story is factually incorrect, and we refute the allegations contained in it.”

The Guardian is also linking Anderson to a company called MyPSU – which Anderson says was a client of theirs – that the newspaper alleges was helping to sell arrangements that set up thousands of micro firms to take advantage of VAT and national insurance rules. These rules were originally intended to help very small businesses, The Guardian said. According to The Guardian, almost 2,000 of these mini firms are now being closed down. 

Steve Zahab, group commercial director for Anderson Group, told Recruiter that MyPSU “operated what is commonly known as a ‘mini umbrella’ model. The mini umbrella model is commonplace in the low-paid recruitment sector. The Guardian concedes in its article that many tax experts do agree that mini umbrella arrangements comply with UK tax legislation on the basis that the component companies in the structure are independent of each other”.

Zahab continued: “As one would expect of a global provider of support services, we took all necessary steps including analysis by specialist tax partners, employment law partners and opinion from two different QCs to ensure the services which MyPSU offered were lawful, allowable and compliant at the time. As can be seen from our website, the only employment management solutions supported by Anderson Group today are simple, straight-forward PAYE Umbrella and Limited Company solutions.”

He declined to comment further “whilst we consider all options available to us”. Anderson Group has been headline sponsor of the annual Recruiter Awards since 2014.

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