Loan charge settlement proposals could save firms on brink of collapse, says MP

The APPG has called on the Government and HMRC to offer a “genuine and reasonable” opportunity for those who used loan schemes.The APPG has called on the Government and HMRC to offer a “genuine and reasonable” opportunity for those who used loan schemes.
The APPG has called on the Government and HMRC to offer a “genuine and reasonable” opportunity for those who used loan schemes.
MANY JOBS could be lost if the Chancellor Rishi Sunak fails to order HMRC to accept new settlement proposals for thousands of people facing the loan charge, an MP has warned.

Labour MP Jon Cruddas has written to the Chancellor urging him to “seriously consider” the proposals put forward by the Loan Charge All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).

In a statement on social media,Mr Cruddas said: “Changes to loan charge legislation could make all the difference for those on the verge of bankruptcy or facing the closure of their business.”

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The APPG has called on the Government and HMRC to offer a “genuine and reasonable” opportunity for those who used loan schemes, which would allow many people to reach affordable settlements. It would also allow HMRC to collect some of the tax it claims it is owed, the MPs said.

Chancellor Rishi SunakChancellor Rishi Sunak
Chancellor Rishi Sunak

The APPG, one of the largest in Parliament, has also called for a delay of the loan charge declaration from the end of September 2020 to the end of January 2021, to allow a six month period for such voluntary settlement agreements to be agreed.

In his letter to Mr Sunak, Mr Cruddas states: “As a member of the Loan Charge APPG, I fully endorse the settlement proposal which would provide an opportunity for those facing the charge to pay an income tax rate of 10 per cent on loan balances as a full and final settlement.

The letter continues: “In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented impact on our economy, the Government should be looking at ways to mitigate the number of individuals facing bankruptcy and businesses closing down.”

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“A delay of six months could make all the difference, helping to avoid much of this damage which would undoubtedly lead to many job losses.”

Sir Mike Penning MP, co-chair of the Loan Charge APPG said: “The Loan Charge APPG still opposes the retrospective nature of the loan charge and believes that all taxpayers should have the right to access the legal process, but there also needs to be a conclusion to this whole issue to allow people to get on with their lives.”

Sir Ed Davey MP, who is also co-chair of the APPG, added: “With this Government determined to press ahead with the unfair Loan Charge, our cross-party group has decided to look for a new arrangement, that makes sense for everyone involved.”

The loan charge was introduced in response to the Treasury’s concerns about “disguised remuneration schemes” which involved individuals being paid through loans, usually via an offshore trust in a low or no tax jurisdiction, which they did not have to repay.

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Evidence collected by the APPG found that, in the vast majority of cases they examined, these arrangements were not entered as “aggressive tax avoidance”, but after professional advice. A “substantial number” of people, especially in the public sector, did not know their pay involved loan payments, the MPs said.

Responding to the APPG proposals, a Government spokesperson said last week: “The Loan Charge was introduced to tackle disguised remuneration (DR) tax avoidance schemes.

“It is the view of HMRC that loans made through these schemes have always been taxable. The Government will continue to tackle this and other forms of tax avoidance vigorously.

“HMRC has to be fair to all taxpayers, and this includes those who have already settled their use of DR tax avoidance schemes with HMRC or have never used tax avoidance schemes in the first place.

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The spokesman added: “As set out in HMRC’s Litigation and Settlement Strategy, they will only settle for an amount that is consistent with the law.”

“The Government has already extended the deadline for individuals affected by the Loan Charge to submit their 2018/19 Self Assessment tax return to 30 September 2020.”

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