Treasury's role in development of loan charge is "relevant subject" for Parliamentary scrutiny, says MP

Kevin Hollinrake MP
Kevin Hollinrake MP
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ONE of the candidates to become chairman of a major Parliamentary Committee has said the Treasury's role in developing the loan charge is a "very relevant subject" for further scrutiny.

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Kevin Hollinrake MP was responding to a call from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Loan Charge (APPG) for the next chair of the Treasury Committee to lead an inquiry into the loan charge and "properly scrutinise" the role of Treasury and HMRC.

Mr Hollinrake, the Conservative MP for Thirsk, Malton & Filey, told The Yorkshire Post via Twitter: "It is a very relevant subject for TSC (the Treasury Committee), particularly given concerns about the independence of the current inquiry."

Apart from Mr Hollinrake, two other MPs have been nominated for election as the new chair of the Treasury Committee; Harriett Baldwin and Mark Garnier.

The Treasury Select Committee is a cross-party group of MPs appointed by the House Of Commons to scrutinise the work of the Treasury.

.The APPG has also welcomed its 183rd member, Marion Fellows MP. In a tweet, the APPG said: "183 Parliamentarians yet HMRC continue to pursue people despite seven loan charge suicides. We need an immediate suspension of the loan charge and all related activity including APNs ( accelerated payment notices)."

The APPG recently wrote to Sir Amyas Morse, who is leading the Loan Charge Review, stating that the group has been informed of another suicide of someone facing the charge.

The APPG said: "This is the seventh suicide of someone facing the loan charge that has been reported to and confirmed to the Loan Charge APPG."

Opponents of the loan charge argue that it is retrospective and overrides taxpayer protections - claims which have previously been disputed by the Treasury. A review has been commissioned into the loan charge after hundreds of MPs expressed concerns about the policy. 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. Workers from a wide range of professions have been hit with large tax bills, which in some cases date back to 1999.

An open letter to the Chancellor Sajid Javid from the APPG, which has been signed by at least 170 MPs, says: "We are writing this urgent letter to you calling for an immediate suspension of both the Loan Charge and other related HMRC activities, including APNs, until the Loan Charge Review has concluded and the Government has implemented its recommendations.

"This is vital for two reasons. First of all, it is quite wrong and undermines the whole basis of the independent review for HMRC to continue pursuing people for arrangements subject to the Loan Charge.

"Assuming that this is a genuine review, the Loan Charge may be changed as a result, so it is wrong that people do not know if they may be later penalised for not settling now, whilst not knowing whether they will face the Loan Charge in its current form or not.

"A suspension of the Loan Charge and all associated activity is clearly fundamental to a genuine review. Secondly and most importantly, an immediate suspension is vital due to the serious risk of suicide, if the Loan Charge is not suspended and if associated APNs are not put on hold.

"The delay that the Treasury have announced, not to the Loan Charge or APNs, but only to the process of finalising settlements, is inadequate and risks further suicides."

A Treasury spokesperson said: “We’ve commissioned an independent review to consider the impact of the Loan Charge.

“Sir Amyas Morse is independent and has full control over the review. He will report back by mid-November, so we can give taxpayers certainty about what they need to do in advance of the January Self Assessment filing deadline.”

An HMRC spokesperson said recently: “HMRC is committed to treating all those we serve with respect and consideration.

“We have committed to giving people as long as they need to pay the loan charge as we completely understand that facing a large tax bill can be difficult and stressful. Our teams are trained to identify customers who are anxious