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 House of Commons committee has highlighted concerns about the level of Brexit preparedness at the UK border, telling officials it is “alarming that so little planning has been undertaken” for Northern Ireland.
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), December 7*:
Other Brexit stories published in the week ending December 7:
Brexit advice vindicates opposition to backstop, Unionists say (December 6*)
Contempt vote forces publication of Brexit legal advice (December 5)
Advocate General’s opinion boosts anti-Brexit campaign (December 5*)
*These stories were also published in the December 10 edition of Tax Notes International.
Proposed 12-year time limits for assessment of tax on offshore income and gains are unnecessarily burdensome and should be withdrawn from the finance bill, peers have told Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.
My news story for Worldwide Tax Daily, published by Tax Analysts on November 9 (paywall):
U.K. Peers Urge Hammond to Drop Proposed 12-Year Time Limits
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
The creeping growth of HM Revenue & Customs’ powers has raised concerns about the protection of taxpayers’ rights, and it is time to take stock, tax professionals told a UK House of Lords committee.
My news story for Worldwide Tax Daily, published by Tax Analysts on October 12 (paywall):
U.K. Tax Professionals Back Call for Review of HMRC Powers
HM Revenue & Customs seems eager to litigate rather than accept reasonable arguments in tax disputes, even when the prospects of success are “less than 50 per cent,” according to the Chartered Institute of Taxation. The “unwelcome trend” is adding to a growing backlog of appeals for tax tribunals, the CIOT said in response to the House of Commons Treasury Subcommittee’s inquiry into the conduct of tax investigations and the resolution of tax disputes.
My news story of July 6 for Tax Notes (paywall) is now reproduced in full with permission:
HMRC’s Approach to Disputes Worsens Backlog, Tax Bodies Say (pdf)
As I reported, HMRC officials and CIOT president Ray McCann were scheduled to give evidence to the subcommittee’s inquiry on July 9. The evidence session was postponed following the resignations of Brexit secretary David Davis and foreign secretary Boris Johnson over the July 6 Chequers agreement:
Last week HM Revenue & Customs apologised for linking to some very old legislation, in a guidance note on new criminal offences, and removed the offending links. HMRC guidance at GOV.UK does not normally include statutory references, but if that is going to change there is a clear risk that the same mistake will be made again.
Legislation.gov.uk is described as “the official place of publication for newly enacted legislation”. Great care is needed in relation to older tax legislation, including some of the major consolidation Acts.
For example, go to Income Tax Act 2007 and you’ll see a prominent warning about an apparently very large number of changes that have not yet been processed. Continue reading “Old versions of tax law on government website – an update”
You can find out about criminal offences relating to offshore income and assets in a new guidance note on HMRC’s website. But the guidance points to some very old tax law.
While HMRC guidance for taxpayers published on GOV.UK does not normally include statutory references, this guidance note has six.
At the time of writing, there are links to sections 7 and 8 of the Taxes Management Act 1970 as reproduced at Legislation.gov.uk, the “official place of publication for newly enacted legislation”.
UPDATE 22 March: HMRC has deleted the links to sections 7 and 8 and apologised for the error.
The problem is that while some progress has been made in processing changes enacted in annual finance acts, Legislation.gov.uk still presents the original versions of some of the key consolidation acts. The original TMA 1970, which turned 48 last week, is here. Continue reading “HMRC guidance points to old tax law”