MPs call on financial secretary for new independent review into HMRC policy

MPs are contacting on HM Profits & Customs (HMRC) to suspend its enforcement of the British isles government’s controversial loan charge plan on the foundation that there stays no “relevant or justified lawful basis” for it.

The instruction is highlighted in a letter to Lucy Frazer, financial secretary to the Treasury, signed by users of the 245-solid All-Celebration Parliamentary Personal loan Demand and Taxpayer Fairness Group.

The letter states: “The loan charge was not properly scrutinised by Parliament when introduced, nor does it have any suitable or justified lawful foundation – it really should under no circumstances have been handed and the governing administration have to now rectify this by saying a legislative alter, as nicely as instructing HMRC to pause any enforcement of the loan charge and related accelerated payment notices.”

The seven-website page missive also calls on Frazer to respond to 10 “extensively researched” questions about the loan charge, which it promises neither the Treasury nor HMRC has completely resolved in their responses to day when quizzed about the interior workings of the controversial plan.

Introduced in the 2017 Spending budget, the loan charge plan is made to enable HMRC claw back again the income it promises contractors in several industries – such as IT – averted shelling out in the earlier by opting to have element of their salary paid to them in the sort of non-taxable loans or annuities.

These loan-centered remuneration schemes ended up normally operate by offshore employee added benefits trusts, and ended up erroneously marketed as staying an HMRC-compliant implies for contractors to bolster their take-home shell out by artificially minimising their employment tax liabilities.

Thousands of IT contractors who took element in these schemes involving December 2010 and five April 2019 have due to the fact been landed with 6-determine tax costs from HMRC by the loan charge plan, reportedly ensuing in mass bankruptcies and at minimum eight suicides.

The retroactive mother nature of the plan has witnessed HMRC continuously criticised for pushing ahead with it, as nicely as the truth that its endeavours to clamp down on disguised remuneration schemes are disproportionately qualified at unique participants rather than the organisations that operate them.

Incidentally, one of the questions place to Frazer in the letter touches on this issue, although also in search of affirmation from her about the precise selection of loan scheme promoters and operators who have been prosecuted, convicted, arrested or fined by HMRC’s loan charge enforcement things to do.

There is mounting anecdotal evidence that many of the contractors who finish up enrolled in these schemes have done so unwittingly, owning been forced by their finish-clients to provide their products and services by a non-compliant umbrella firm that acts as a front for the scheme. 

Beneath the conditions of the loan charge plan, people have few avenues available to them to challenge or enchantment from the sanctions handed down by HMRC, which is a further location the letter calls on Frazer to handle.

But the standout questions resolved to Frazer in the doc centre on the end result of the 2019 unbiased critique into the loan charge plan by Lord Morse, which observed the policy’s search-back again time period slash by far more than 10 decades.

“The most important summary of the Morse report was that the ‘loan charge really should not apply to loans entered into right before nine December 2010, staying the issue at which the regulation [on the use of disguised remuneration schemes] turned clear’,” the letter states.

“That laws, introduced in December 2010, only affected employees – there was nothing at all on the statute e-book for a further seven decades suggesting they did not do the job for the self-utilized. The 2011 laws only used to employer-employee loans paid from a third occasion. It did not apply to self-utilized preparations or utilized preparations in which no third occasion was associated.”

As previously detailed by Pc Weekly, the Morse Review’s summary that the regulation on applying disguised remuneration schemes has been apparent due to the fact 2010 has been continuously challenged by the cross-occasion group of MPs that make up the Personal loan Demand APPG, as nicely as stakeholders from across the contracting group.

In the letter, the MPs assert that the regulation was “categorically not clear” on the use of loan-centered remuneration schemes right up until 2017, which is what prompted HMRC to propose the plan in the initially area.

“As financial secretary to the Treasury and a QC, will you now make a general public assertion to each challenge and rectify that flawed and unsound summary, by confirming that the loan charge laws will be amended to mirror the truth of the right lawful posture, which was clearly misunderstood by Lord Morse at the time of his critique,” the letter states.

The letter also requests that Frazer affirm the situations and standards applied to decide who would aid Lord Morse with compiling the critique, following the disclosure of independence of data requests that propose this method may have been influenced by HMRC and the Treasury.

The letter concludes with a contact for a “fresh and completely unbiased critique of the loan charge” to be carried out, in the encounter of increasing cross-occasion support across the House of Commons from MPs and friends who disagree with the plan.

“We hope that you can now see the loan charge is not only a deeply controversial plan that undermines the rule of regulation, but also that it is a flawed plan introduced in without having suitable comprehending and with deceptive rationale,” states the letter.