More than 270 General Election candidates promise to scrap and investigate the loan charge

More than 270 candidates standing in the General Election have pledged to suspend, scrap and investigate the loan charge, according to campaigners.

Growing numbers of Parliamentary candidates have promised to scrap the loan charge. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The Loan Charge Action Group is urging Parliamentary candidates to sign its “loan charge commitment”.

The commitment states that if elected as an MP, the candidate will vote to suspend the loan charge date of January 31 to allow the Morse review recommendations to be considered and implemented.

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The candidates have also pledged to scrap the “retrospective element” of the loan charge. They also have made a commitment to “investigate and reform HMRC, their powers and lack of accountability”.

Before the election was called, the Treasury commissioned an independent review. which is being led by Sir Amyas Morse, to consider the impact of the loan charge.

The loan charge was introduced in response to the Treasury’s concerns about what it described as “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. Workers from a wide range of professions have been hit with large tax bills, which in some cases date back to 1999.

Opponents of the loan charge argue that it is retrospective and overrides taxpayer protections - claims which have previously been disputed by the Treasury.

Before the election, The All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Loan Charge (APPG) said it had received reports of seven suicides of people who were facing the loan charge.

An HMRC spokesperson said recently: “We know that large tax assessments can cause worry and anxiety so we have put in place dedicated resources, including specially trained HMRC officers, to support more vulnerable customers.”

“We have also set up a disguised remuneration helpline, which can provide details of organisations such as the Samaritans and Mind as appropriate.”