Thank you for sterling work exposing human toll of loan charge scandal – Yorkshire Post letters

From: Richard Atkinson, Walton, Wakefield.

HMRC has hit back at Jayne Dowle over her column on the loan charge.

I WOULD like to congratulate The Yorkshire Post, and in particular Greg Wright, for its sterling work in exposing the loan charge for what it is – a retrospective tax on hard working individuals.

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Despite HMRC, Treasury and Cabinet spin, this little understood charge was introduced when HMRC made no headway in challenging workers over legal schemes that protected against draconian changes to the way contractors worked.

Loan charge victims have been speaking to The Yorkshire Post about their personal despair.

People who have operated legally for many years and did not receive the benefits, and protections enjoyed by payrolled employees, are now faced with paying a retrospective tax on the last 20 years of activity.

I know a number of Yorkshire-based individuals affected who are all being asked for more than the average £13,000 quoted by HMRC and in one case the figure is over £200,000.

This has led to extreme worry and depression and I am concerned that, despite the intervention of MPs with a conscience, such as David Davis, HMRC is being permitted to engage in psychological warfare to rake in as much as it can for the Treasury on the grounds of it being good for the country.

Please continue your great work in exposing this national scandal and make people aware of the heavy toll this is having amongst people across the county of Yorkshire and beyond.

From: Mary Aiston, Director, Counter Avoidance Directorate, HMRC.

Jayne Dowle’s opinion piece seriously misrepresents the reasons for the loan charge and overlooks the support and safeguards that HMRC has put in place to support customers who are affected by it (The Yorkshire Post, July 15).

HMRC will always support people who need extra practical help to get their tax affairs straight, and takes a reasonable and sympathetic approach to those who genuinely want to settle their affairs. We recognise that large tax bills can cause distress and will work with customers to find the right solution for them.

This includes generous repayment plans which give loan scheme users as long as they need to pay the tax that is due. Anyone affected by the loan charge should talk to us, so we can get help them get their affairs straight and put their minds at rest.

I also want to stress that disguised remuneration loan schemes are a form of tax avoidance that have denied our vital public services of more than £3.2 billion.

The vast majority of people pay the tax they owe, while many loan scheme users enjoyed, on average, twice the income of the average UK taxpayer, with lifestyles that people on similar earnings who paid their taxes in full simply could not have afforded. Finally, it is entirely false to suggest that HMRC ever accepted or approved disguised remuneration schemes.

Editor’s note: The Yorkshire Post has, on several occasions, asked Sir Jonathan Thompson, the chief executive of HMRC, to write an opinion piece responding to concerns of readers about the loan charge. This opportunity has been declined by HMRC’s media team. The invitation remains open.