PROTESTERS gathered outside the Treasury to demand the suspension of a controversial policy which critics say breaches the rule of law.
Members of the Loan Charge Action Group called on the Chancellor Sajid Javid to “stop the loan charge and save lives”.
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.
Opponents argue that the charge is retrospective and overrides taxpayer protections - claims which have been disputed by the Treasury.
Workers from a wide range of professions have been hit with large tax bills, which in some cases date back to 1999.
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.
Steve Packham, spokesperson for the Loan Charge Action Group said: “We’re calling on Sajid Javid to now do the right thing and announce a suspension of the loan charge.”
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.
In a recent interview with Paul Lewis of the BBC’s Moneybox programme, Mr Javid had indicated that Sir Amyas would submit the review’s findings before Christmas.
MPs had previously called for all settlement activity, enforcement and penalties to be suspended pending the outcome of the review and the implementation of the recommendations.
In a letter to Mr Javid, the Loan Charge Action Group said: “We are extremely concerned for the wellbeing of our members.
“We have several members who are receiving daily attention from the volunteers of our emergency helpline and we are aware of a great many others who are under severe stress.”
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.”