Brexit dominates the political agenda, but it is by no means the only issue on tax professionals’ minds. Some of the challenges facing tax advisers were addressed by the House of Lords economic affairs committee in December. The committee’s report is essential reading for policymakers.
Concerns expresses by nine tax specialists in my article for a Tolley Tax supplement (not available online) to the January 2019 edition of Tax Adviser included the complexity of tax law, the impact of automation, the quality of HMRC’s service, and the department’s approach to avoidance and evasion.
HM Revenue & Customs could use its “care and management” powers to reach a compromise with taxpayers facing the 2019 loan charge and avoid resorting to bankruptcy proceedings, a tax expert told members of Parliament.
“My personal viewpoint is that HMRC does have discretion to enter into a settlement arrangement with these individuals,” Chartered Institute of Taxation President Ray McCann told the House of Commons Treasury Subcommittee on December 10, in response to questions about the retroactive charge. My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), December 11, also published in the December 17 edition of Tax Notes International:
HMRC Discretion Is Key to Resolving Loan Charge Dispute, MPs Told
A House of Lords committee called for a review of the powers available to HM Revenue & Customs, arguing that some powers granted since 2012 are disproportionate and lack effective safeguards for taxpayers.
“HMRC is right to tackle tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. However, a careful balance must be struck between clamping down and treating taxpayers fairly. Our evidence has convinced us that this balance has tipped too far in favour of HMRC and against the fundamental protections every taxpayer should expect,” said Lord Forsyth, chair of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), December 4: https://www.taxnotes.com/worldwide-tax-daily/tax-policy/peers-call-review-disproportionate-hmrc-powers/2018/12/04/28n75
This story was also published in the December 10 edition of Tax Notes International.
A tax barrister told a House of Lords committee that the finance bill to be published on November 7 should be used to repeal a controversial tax charge on disguised remuneration.
The legislation “goes for the person who is least able to defend himself or herself, [and is] attacking the worker, not anyone else in the chain”, Keith Gordon of Temple Tax Chambers told the Economic Affairs Finance Bill Subcommittee on October 17.
“I find it extremely worrying that the legislation has been able to get on to the statute book,” he said.
The government has defended the charge and said HMRC “will only go to the employee to settle their income tax liability in cases where it cannot reasonably be collected from the employer – for example, where the employer is no longer in existence”.
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), published on October 19, is now reproduced in full with permission:
UK tax barrister calls for repeal of controversial loan charge
As I reported on October 29 (paywall) Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, has declined to appear before the subcommittee, which is examining the loan charge as part of its review of HMRC powers.
UK lawmakers have called on the government to reconsider an anti-avoidance rule that campaigners say will have disastrous consequences for thousands of workers.
My news story for Worldwide Tax Daily, published by Tax Analysts on October 27 (paywall). The story was also published in the November 5 edition of Tax Notes International:
U.K. Minister Defies Peers Amid Disquiet Over Loan Charge
A tax barrister has told a House of Lords committee that HM Revenue & Customs takes “a bullying approach” to taxpayers, and called for the repeal of a controversial tax charge on disguised remuneration.
My news story for Worldwide Tax Daily, published by Tax Analysts on October 19 (paywall):
U.K. Tax Barrister Calls for Repeal of Controversial Loan Charge
Measures presented as anti-avoidance legislation may receive less detailed scrutiny than other measures because they are difficult to challenge politically, a leading tax professional told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Subcommittee.
My news story for Worldwide Tax Daily, published by Tax Analysts on October 17 (paywall):
Tax Law Rhetoric Affects Scrutiny, U.K. Peers Told