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 is seeking feedback on existing processes for amending tax returns, as the January 31 self-assessment deadline approaches with more than 5.5 million returns outstanding.
My news story (paywall) for Tax Notes, January 3:
HMRC Consults on Tax Return Processes as Deadline Approaches
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.
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: