Tory MP calls to repeal backdated tax rule Section 58

A Tory MP has won backing from droves of IT contractors facing bankruptcy from backdated tax rule Section 58, for squaring up to the government over the harm retrospection does to Britain’s international standing as a business location.

Foisting the economic argument onto the Treasury, the Conservatives’ Mark Field urged officials to seriously consider “the message that retrospective legislation sends to business people”, especially when they come to trying to legally and transparently plan their taxes.

“Exchequer Secretary [David Gauke has] rightly pointed out that we should be proud of being a country that is open for business”, Mr Field told the Finance Bill Committee last week. “But we must ensure that what we do and what we say in that regard coincide.”

His comments refer to the Labour government’s introduction on Budget Notice 66 of Section 58 of the Finance Act 2008, which sought to net £230m for HM Revenue & Customs by shutting down once-legal tax schemes both prospectively and retrospectively.

No To Retro Tax, a campaign group for BN66 victims, said yesterday that its members have written to Mr Field to thank him for his contribution, which comes ahead of 18 other MPs demanding the repeal of S58’s retrospective element in a cross-party letter to chancellor George Osborne, due to be sent later this week.

“Some [residents in my constituency]… affected by Section 58 are not convinced that he [Mr Gauke] is properly listening to the argument,” Mr Field, Tory MP for the City of London and Westminster, said in his address.

He added: “Although I accept that HMRC wants to bring more money in and to close down aggressive tax avoidance schemes, if it has known that arrangements or schemes have been in place for 25 years and has made no move to close them down, it cannot be right for retrospective activity to take place. My constituents therefore request the repeal of Section 58.”

Apr 22, 2013