Tag: anti-avoidance

More than 100 MPs call for 6-month suspension of loan charge

Growing support among members of Parliament for a suspension of the controversial loan charge suggests that many MPs did not understand the legislation they passed in 2017, a leading tax professional said.

As of April 9, more than 100 MPs had signed a letter from the Loan Charge All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride urging him to announce that the loan charge will be suspended for six months to allow for an independent review.

“In a fair tax system, both the amount of the tax and the way it is imposed must be seen to be fair,” George Bull, senior tax partner at RSM UK, told Tax Notes, adding that while 281 Conservative MPs voted for the bill that became Finance (No. 2) Act 2017, he understands that 47 Conservatives are members of the APPG. “Based on the size of the APPG, it seems that many MPs did not understand the nature of the legislation they were enacting,” he said.

My news story for Tax Notes (now outside the paywall), April 10: More Than 100 MPs Call for 6-Month Suspension of U.K. Loan Charge

HM Treasury defends loan charge amid sustained criticism

HM Revenue & Customs is committed to supporting taxpayers affected by the imminent loan charge, but does not accept claims made in some of the testimonies shared by members of Parliament, according to HM Treasury …

The government’s approach has attracted fierce criticism from a cross-party group of MPs, as well as the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee. Tax barrister Keith Gordon of Temple Tax Chambers called last October for the loan charge to be repealed, arguing that HMRC was using the charge as a way to cover up its own failure to take action “over the last 15 years.”

My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), March 27: U.K. Treasury Defends Loan Charge Amid Sustained Criticism

UK government defies calls to restrict imminent loan charge

Thousands of people pay tax as self-employed workers or through their company without using “highly contrived tax avoidance schemes,” a minister told peers who urged the government to limit the April 2019 loan charge. The finance bill completed its second reading and remaining stages in the House of Lords after a short debate on February 8.

Labour peer Denis Tunnicliffe welcomed the government’s decision to accept a new clause calling for a forthcoming review of extended time limits for offshore income to include a comparison of those time limits with others, including those in the controversial loan charge provisions of Finance (No. 2) Act 2017. Continue reading “UK government defies calls to restrict imminent loan charge”

A challenging landscape for tax professionals

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 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.

 

HMRC discretion is key to resolving loan charge dispute, MPs told

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

Peers call for review of ‘disproportionate’ HMRC powers

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.

HMRC powers and the 2019 loan charge

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.