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Call for evidence on 'Loan Charge Scandal'
by Susie Hughes at 11:06 21/06/22 (News on Business)
A Parliamentary group has called for evidence from advisers following 'harrowing evidence' supplied by individuals on the Loan Charge controversy.
The Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness All Party Parliamentary Group has launched a new call for evidence, this time from advisers with clients affected by the Loan Charge. This follows an earlier call for evidence, from people directly affected by the Loan Charge, which has revealed a 'deeply worrying reality' with many people facing bankruptcy, relationship and mental breakdown and 15 per cent of people reporting suicidal thoughts or intent.

Since the formation of the APPG in 2018, considerable amounts of important evidence has been provided, both in writing and in oral evidence, by professional advisers – accountants, tax advisers, lawyers – and it is hoped that the second tranche of evidence will further demonstrate the reality of the policy on people and their families, something, which the group said, that HMRC and the Treasury continue to seek to ignore and deny.

The insight from professional advisers, who represent and are assisting individuals, will be invaluable in giving an oversight of the situation their clients are in and of their own experiences of dealing with HMRC.

Baroness Susan Kramer, Vice-Chair of the Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness APPG (Liberal Democrat), said: “Throughout the Loan Charge Scandal, HMRC and the Treasury have failed to give straight answers to questions and have brushed the reality of the Loan Charge under the carpet. With it being so hard to get any accurate information, the Loan Charge and Taxpayer APPG will continue to do all we can to get concrete evidence that shows the reality, as opposed to the propaganda, of this dangerous policy, one that has already cost lives”

Advisers who have clients affected by the Loan Charge, whether they have settled or still face the Loan Charge and whether or not they are affected as contractors or as limited company directors, should complete a submission using the PDF form for advisers on the APPG website. There is space in the two large boxes to suit different submissions, however all submissions must be a maximum of two pages (two sides of A4).

The APPG will then use the submissions as part of establishing the reality of the situation for people affected by the Loan Charge. The APPG will share them with APPG members and the Treasury. They will also publish them on social media. The deadline for submissions is Friday 15th July 2022.

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Sammy Wilson MP, Co-Chair of the Loan Charge APPG (DUP), said: “The evidence sent to us so far from individuals is compelling and also harrowing, with a shocking number of people reporting serious problems including marital breakdown, mental health issues and with a very worrying 15 per cent of people saying they have had suicidal thoughts or actual intent.

“We now wish to hear from advisers, many of whom work extremely hard doing all they can to support clients, often in the face of communication issues with HMRC. So we believe their insight will also be very valuable in demonstrating the reality of the situation, something that is alas ignored and denied by HMRC and the Treasury”.

Greg Smith MP, Co-Chair of the Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness APPG (Conservative) said: “The Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness APPG remains deeply concerned about the impact of the Loan Charge and tens of thousands of individuals and their families.

“It is clear from the evidence received so far that the situation is very serious and that without change from the Treasury and HMRC, there will be devastating consequences. We now wish to hear from advisers about the situation they face dealing with HMRC and supporting clients and we hope this will further add to the picture, which is becoming increasingly difficult for Ministers to continue to ignore”.

Background
The Loan Charge was introduced in the Finance (no. 2) Act 2017 and is a charge on all payroll remuneration through loans made since 1999, in the form of a 45 per cent charge on all loan payments in that time. This charge is levied as a back tax and demanded by HMRC in one tax year, 2019-2020. Anyone who has ever been employed through such as structure will be hit with a retrospective charge in the 2018-19 tax year in one go, meaning huge and wholly unaffordable bills.

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Loan remuneration arrangements were – and still are – legal, hence being recommended by accountants and approved by lawyers. Users of arrangements were not challenged by HMRC at the time.

The Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness APPG believes that loan remuneration arrangements should be subject to taxation from the point of the introduction of legislation, i.e. prospective from 16th November 2017, and that the Treasury should then clearly outlaw their usage.

The main concerns of the APPG are firstly the retrospective nature of the Loan Charge legislation, which overrides tax law of the time and statutory protections for taxpayers, by allowing HMRC to going back further than time limits allow to claim tax; and, secondly, the impact the Loan Charge will have on those facing it, which is a cause for concern for all Group members and for the majority, if not all, MPs with constituents facing the Loan Charge.


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