At the end of last month, HMRC published a consultation document on the subject of ‘Tackling marketed tax avoidance’.
This consultation says that the Government intends to introduce an accelerated payment measure linked to the issuing of a follower notice during tax disputes. This will essentially give HMRC the arbitrary power to declare that a user’s tax arrangements are linked to another person’s tax dispute and to demand money up front, with no right of appeal, if that third party loses their case, even if there are substantial differences between the tax arrangements in question.
More alarmingly, HMRC will also be given the power to issue a payment notice to demand that any disputed tax is paid on a DOTAS registered scheme before anything has been heard in the tax courts. This power will apply retrospectively to almost all DOTAS registered tax planning arrangements, including ones using double taxation treaties, going back to 2004. If HMRC are granted these powers, it will allow them to demand almost immediate payment of disputed tax before we have had the chance to have our case heard at the FTT.
We are deeply concerned that if this measure passes it will make it possible for HMRC to demand immediate payment of monies claimed under Section 58(4) and further remove the right of victims to have our actions judged fairly and under the law as it stood at the time. If the Government agrees to grant HMRC the powers requested in the consultation document, it will mean that for many NTRT and EBT scheme members, the time when payment demands start coming through the door could be a lot sooner than any of us anticipated.
The NTRT steering committee has already submitted a response to the consultation on behalf of our members and we will be strongly lobbying members of the Finance Bill Committee when these proposals come before the House of Commons. However, it is vitally important that every person affected by these proposals write to the officials responsible for the consultation and demand that they are rejected.
We have created a toolkit here (click to open) which contains a template letter for you to send to HMRC. We would ask that you amend this in your own words and writing style as appropriate and urge you send it to HMRC before the consultation deadline of this Monday 24th February.
Again, it is essential that every NTRT member and EBT scheme user responds to the consultation as set out in the above toolkit. Please also spread the word using the Social Media buttons on this post.
Thank you for your urgent assistance.
Alistair Cliff Renshaw
NTRT Campaign Chairman