Emails between j. Harra and R. Stanier in 2019 on the subject of Disguised Remuneration.

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

Please supply all emails between Jim Harra and Ruth Stanier in 2019 that contained the letters 'DR', meaning
'disguised remuneration'., and/or any other standard abbreviations for such used within HMRC.

Such a search should not generate too many false results, but if so please search on 'DR_' where '_' is replaced with a space.

Yours faithfully,

Matt Smith

FOI Team, Cyllid a Thollau Ei Mawrhydi

Our ref: FOI2021/00393

Dear Mr Smith,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 Acknowledgement

Thank you for your communication of 22nd January which has been passed to
HMRC's Freedom of Information Team.

We have allocated the above reference which you should quote if you need
to contact us.

The Team will arrange for a reply to be sent to you which will either
comply with HMRC's obligations under Freedom of Information Act or, if we
think it's an enquiry that we don't need to address under the terms of the
Act, let you know why. If it is the latter we will, if possible, pass it
on to a more appropriate part of the Department fo r answer.

As you will appreciate, the coronavirus pandemic has provided
unprecedented challenges for Government Departments including HMRC. Over
the coming weeks our priorities are to provide critical existing and new
Public Services for Government to support customers during this difficult
time. As a result, resources may be diverted away from usual compliance or
information rights work. HMRC aims to respond to all FOIA Requests within
20 working days. If for whatever reason this timescale cannot be complied
with HMRC will, where possible, write to you explaining the reason for the
delay and providing an estimated time for response.

Yours sincerely

HMRC Freedom of Information Act Team

FOI Team, Cyllid a Thollau Ei Mawrhydi

Our ref: FOI2021/00393

Dear Mr Smith,

Freedom of Information Act 2000

We can confirm that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) holds information
relevant to your request. However, we need to extend the 20 working day
time limit for responding to your request.

This is because some of the information you have requested is being
considered as exempt from disclosure under section 36(2)(b) of the Act.

Section 36 is subject to a public interest test and HMRC has not yet
reached a decision on whether the balance of the public interest favours
disclosure of this information.

Under section 10(3), when public authorities have to consider the balance
of the public interest in relation to a request, they do not have to
comply with the request until such time as is reasonable in the
circumstances.

Owing to the need to consider, in all the circumstances of the case, where
the balance of the public interest lies in relation to your request, we
will not be able to respond to your request in full within 20 working
days.

I hope to provide you with a full response by 17 March 2021 at the latest.

Yours sincerely

HMRC Freedom of Information Act Team

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of HM Revenue and Customs's handling of my FOI request 'Emails between j. Harra and R. Stanier in 2019 on the subject of Disguised Remuneration.'

The response to my request is long overdue. Two months have passed since my original request, dated 18th of January. You took almost a month to respond to that request, and only to ask for more time, promising a response by the 17th of March, which has now passed.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

Yours faithfully,

Matt Smith

FOI Team, Cyllid a Thollau Ei Mawrhydi

Our ref: IR2021/05360

Dear Mr Smith,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 Acknowledgement

Thank you for your communication of 20th March which has been passed to
HMRC's Freedom of Information Team.

We have allocated the above reference which you should quote if you need
to contact us.

The Team will arrange for a reply to be sent to you which will either
comply with HMRC's obligations under Freedom of Information Act or, if we
think it's an enquiry that we don't need to address under the terms of the
Act, let you know why. If it is the latter we will, if possible, pass it
on to a more appropriate part of the Departmen t for answer.

As you will appreciate, the coronavirus pandemic has provided
unprecedented challenges for Government Departments including HMRC. Over
the coming weeks our priorities are to provide critical existing and new
Public Services for Government to support customers during this difficult
time. As a result, resources may be diverted away from usual compliance or
information rights work. HMRC aims to respond to all FOIA Requests within
20 working days. If for whatever reason this timescale cannot be complied
with HMRC will, where possible, write to you explaining the reason for the
delay and providing an estimated time for response.

Yours sincerely

HMRC Freedom of Information Act Team

FOI Team, Cyllid a Thollau Ei Mawrhydi

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Smith,

We are writing in response to your request for information, received 22
January.

Yours sincerely,

HMRC Freedom of Information Team

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of HM Revenue and Customs's handling of my FOI request 'Emails between j. Harra and R. Stanier in 2019 on the subject of Disguised Remuneration.'.

I would like to raise a serious concern that relates to my previous FOI request, and challenge your decision to withhold some of the information from your response.

You mention that "department’s senior officials must be able to freely challenge the veracity of any claims made by a third party as well as the department’s rebuttals to them without the trepidation that such comments may enter the public domain without additional context, whilst the issue is still ongoing. ", and that "the loss of frankness and candour would damage the quality of advice and deliberation, leading to poorer decision making."

I don't believe there is the risk of any poorer decision making in this case, given the information you disclosed includes Jim Harra himself admitting he had very little success in understanding the legal strength of HMRC's claim which is behind the Disguised Remuneration policy and the Loan Charge.

You state that "HMRC accepts that there is a clear public interest in government departments being as open and transparent as possible, so as to increase accountability and inform public debate."

But then you add: "However, I would argue that there is a more compelling public interest in preserving the safe space in which officials can deliberate issues and protecting the department’s ability to operate effectively."

I strongly disagree with your position on this. It is now entirely in the public interest to unearth anything that relates to the formulation of this policy, given HMRC's most senior official, Jim Harra, is on record doubting the legal case that forms the basis of that policy 2 years after the Loan Charge was introduced.

50,000 thousand families received life-changing tax bills because of that flawed legal case. In this specific case, the need for transparency and accountability must take precedence over your stated concerns about candour.

I look forward to receiving an updated version of this FOI response which includes the previously undisclosed details.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

Yours faithfully,

Matt Smith

FOI Team, Cyllid a Thollau Ei Mawrhydi

Our ref: IR2021/08111

Dear Mr Smith,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 Acknowledgement

Thank you for your communication of 25th April which has been passed to
HMRC's Freedom of Information Team.

We have allocated the above reference which you should quote if you need
to contact us.

The Team will arrange for a reply to be sent to you which will either
comply with HMRC's obligations under Freedom of Information Act or, if we
think it's an enquiry that we don't need to address under the terms of the
Act, let you know why. If it is the latter we will, if possible, pass it
on to a more appropriate part of the Departmen t for answer.

As you will appreciate, the coronavirus pandemic has provided
unprecedented challenges for Government Departments including HMRC. Over
the coming weeks our priorities are to provide critical existing and new
Public Services for Government to support customers during this difficult
time. As a result, resources may be diverted away from usual compliance or
information rights work. HMRC aims to respond to all FOIA Requests within
20 working days. If for whatever reason this timescale cannot be complied
with HMRC will, where possible, write to you explaining the reason for the
delay and providing an estimated time for response.

Yours sincerely

HMRC Freedom of Information Act Team

FOI Team, Cyllid a Thollau Ei Mawrhydi

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Smith,

We are writing in response to your request for information, received 25
April.

Yours sincerely,

HMRC Freedom of Information Team