Misleading Advertising: Apricot Umbrella Ltd t/a Apricot Umbrella breaks the UK advertising rules for making misleading claims and omissions for the tax arrangements offered on the https://apricotumbrella.co.uk/ website.
Together with HMRC, the CAP Compliance team has been taking market-wide action about the advertising of tax arrangements. As part of this work we published our joint Enforcement Notice - Advertising Tax Arrangement Schemes.
The Notice applies to websites which advertise a tax arrangement to UK individuals or businesses that has been challenged by HMRC. The tax arrangement advertised by Apricot Umbrella Ltd was challenged by HMRC – some changes were made although problems remain and subsequently this issue was passed to the Compliance team.
The following references on the Apricot Umbrella website breach the Enforcement Notice because the arrangement has been challenged by HMRC:
- ‘We will make necessary deductions like student loans and pension contributions and pay your salary direct to you’
Ads for schemes under HMRC challenge may be advertised – but it is particularly important to be clear and upfront about the potential risks to customers of entering into the challenged arrangement.
HMRC investigation does not necessarily mean that a claimed tax advantage will not be upheld. It does mean, however, that there is a risk that the scheme will not successfully deliver the tax advantages claimed, which should be disclosed. Omission of the disclosure of risk of entering the scheme is a problem.
The Apricot Umbrella website has not laid out any of the risks of entering into their tax arrangement as laid out in the Enforcement Notice.
The CAP Compliance team contacted Apricot Umbrella Ltd and, in the absence of a response, took the decision on 6 September 2023 to place Apricot Umbrella Ltd’s company details on this section of the ASA website. These details shall remain in place until such time as Apricot Umbrella Ltd has appropriately amended the https://apricotumbrellla.co.uk/ website to ensure compliance with the CAP Code.