Dear HM Revenue and Customs,
I refer to the oral evidence given to the Treasury Committee by
Jim Harra, Second Permanent Secretary and Tax Assurance Commissioner HMRC;
Penny Ciniewicz, Director General, Customer Compliance, HMRC;
Mary Aiston, Director, Couter Avoidance, HMRC
on 30th January 2019.
This was reported and can be found at the following link.
In response to question 33, Ms Aiston said:
However, the legislation does provide that where that employer is offshore and no longer exists—in some of these schemes, the employer was purely an offshore construct set up as part of the avoidance scheme—in those sorts of circumstances, the legislation allows us to go to the individual who benefited from the scheme.
Can HMRC please provide a reference as to where this legislation exists? Specifically, where does the legislation refer to offshore or non existent employers?
In response to question 34, Ms Aiston said:
and the rest comes to them via an offshore trust in the Cayman Islands, or somewhere like that
We look after over 120 schemes and none of them have Cayman Islands connections. We suggest therefore that in the absence of evidence, Ms Aiston has used the Cayman in order to influence public opinion rather than supply an accurate answer. If this is incorrect, can HMRC point to and identify any contractor loan scheme in which the Cayman Islands hosted a trust?
In response to question 35, Ms Aiston said:
The intention of the loan charge is to ensure that these people who have gotten into disguised remuneration avoidance pay their fair share
Mr Stride MP, has often said that the loan charge is a new tax on a new source. Ms Aiston now concedes that it is far from this and instead a punitive and retrospective tax charge. Who is correct, HMRC or Mr Stride?
In response to question 42, Ms Aiston said:
We think that the typical settlement that an individual is facing is somewhere in the order of £13,000,
HMRC has published data previously saying that only a very small percentage of those facing settlement are amongst the lower paid, preferring instead to make unsubstantiated claims that those earning more than the average wage are being targeted. It now seems that, when convenient, this is inaccurate.
Which is correct?
At question 46:
Q46 Rushanara Ali: With respect, if you spotted a problem eight, nine or 10 years ago, you could have flagged this up to people to say, “You are in a scheme that you really should not be in”, and they could have sorted it out. Is that something you did?
Mary Aiston: Yes.
The House of Lords criticised HMRC for its lack of communication on this issue. Can HMRC point to any evidence that supports Ms Aiston’s assertion?
At questions 59, Ms Aiston said:
HMRC raised thousands and thousands of enquiries and assessments. It has litigated cases.
Can HMRC please send us a reference for those cases and explain how they relate to contractor loan schemes?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Our ref: FOI2019/00358
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