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From likes to liabilities: The perils of trusting TikTok 'experts' for your tax matters

by Becky Dunbar

In a world that is becoming increasingly reliant on social media, with over 60% of the world’s population using it on a regular basis, it comes as no surprise that people have started sharing their ‘money-saving tips and advice’ on these platforms.

However, this advice often comes from self-proclaimed ‘experts’ with no qualifications or detailed knowledge on what they are advising, which has left many in financial chaos, with qualified professionals left to pick up the pieces.

A survey of over 2,500 UK consumers, conducted in August 2023, found that 25% of 18-24 year olds use social media when searching for financial guidance and advice. With around 20% making tax decisions based on tips received from TikTok videos, which can range from 15 seconds to 3 minutes long.

Much of this ‘expert’ advice offered on social media sites such as TikTok evolve around ‘saving’ or ‘avoiding’ tax. Under the #taxadvice hashtag on TikTok, the most common advice given concerns setting up a company or transferring properties into a trust, often complex situations where the same advice does not ‘fit all’ and where many considerations must be thought about before any decisions are made.

Whilst some videos have an ounce of truth, more often than not the advice given is completely wrong and if followed could lead to not only a big tax bill but an ongoing administration nightmare.

‘Influencers’ also failed to mention the anti-avoidance rules surrounding their tax planning advice or the ongoing tax and legal responsibilities associated with them. Some would also confuse UK tax legislation with American tax laws, and this was not obvious to someone with no prior knowledge of tax.

We would always advise you to speak with a qualified tax adviser before following any advice you have seen on social media.

Our team of experts at Rickard Luckin can help, whether this is before any tax planning arrangements have been set in place or if you have followed any ‘misleading advice’ and need our assistance in resolving any ongoing problems.

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