On Friday HMRC published Spotlight 49: Disguised remuneration: schemes claiming to avoid the loan charge. The guidance reiterates HMRC's view that schemes designed to avoid the disguised remuneration (DR) loan charge do not have their intended effect, in the face of continued efforts by promoters to market such schemes.

With the DR loan charge due to take effect in less than four weeks, taxpayers who are unwilling or unable to repay DR loans might be tempted to "roll the dice". HMRC suggests that this will only result in additional expense for the individuals concerned - in the form of scheme costs, investigation costs, interest and penalties - without any tax benefit.

HMRC also sounds a note of warning to the promoters of DR loan charge avoidance schemes about the possibility that they too may be pursued.

The bottom line, according to HMRC, is that if it looks too good to be true, it usually is.