HMRC Enquiry Letters for Choice Premier / Berwick Associates/ Runnymede Services HMRC Enquiry Letters for Choice Premier / Berwick Associates/ Runnymede Services - Page 14
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  1. #131

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    I would say that HMRC have made a valid point, but that the position is in fact much more complicated and that a simple answer as shown taken out of context, is not really useful.

    I suggest that you contact Choice or take professional advice from a source of your own choosing.
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  2. #132

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    Default MJK & Co - payment demand

    Anyone else received a 5k payment demand from MJK & Co for their 'work' on the CP Forex scheme - before they will enlighten you with the results of their 'settlement' offer with HRMC?

  3. #133

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    Default MJK & Co (and its variants) and IFL Management Group

    Wow, anybody else seen this?

    Loan Charge 2019 | KCMJ

    The content of KCMJ LLP’s webpage is certainly hard-hitting, that's for sure! Aside from it mentioning HMRC's alleged concerns, one is left to wonder if the IFL Management Group directors (with its multiple companies) are aware of this overt pitch for new clients and are working in partnership with KCMJ LLP, or if that's just fanciful thinking and the two organisations are anything but 'aligned'? Actually, come to think of it, given the mention of the Advertising Standards Authority's rather damning ruling in relation to one of IFL Management Group's companies, one may reasonably conclude the latter to be the case. Maybe the directors of IFL Management Group can clarify, via this forum?

    Anyway, a simple check via the Companies House website reveals who is behind KCMJ LLP. It could be that one might notice some 'synergies' with the names of those who were involved in the design, creation, registration and administration of the historic 'facilities' it now seeks to have ex-customers sign up for another round of representation and..... surely to pay £000s more in fees. Of course, as has always been the case, in return for more representation fees no guarantee is given that additional tax will be avoided.

    Ah, but as a general precept, surely one must accept that, in staving off an HMRC attack of non-compliance/illegality, it's absolutely reasonable to expect ex-customers (who will have paid notable fees to use the 'facilities' as part of their contract worker lifestyle) to pay for the time of those who created said 'facilities' and convinced customers everything about them was all fine and dandy - correct?! With the sign-up deadline for representation just passed, wonder how many ex-customers of IFL Management Group's 'facilities' took up KCMJ LLP's invite?

  4. #134

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    I can assure you they are definitely not aligned! I am curious as to whether Big Group would consider merging with the KCMJ litigation (or other way round) as it appears to be along reasonably similar lines. I can understand all sides want to retain their market of generated fees but more people maybe willing to join the fight if the fees are reduced.



    Quote Originally Posted by Specsgalore View Post
    Wow, anybody else seen this?

    Loan Charge 2019 | KCMJ

    The content of KCMJ LLP’s webpage is certainly hard-hitting, that's for sure! Aside from it mentioning HMRC's alleged concerns, one is left to wonder if the IFL Management Group directors (with its multiple companies) are aware of this overt pitch for new clients and are working in partnership with KCMJ LLP, or if that's just fanciful thinking and the two organisations are anything but 'aligned'? Actually, come to think of it, given the mention of the Advertising Standards Authority's rather damning ruling in relation to one of IFL Management Group's companies, one may reasonably conclude the latter to be the case. Maybe the directors of IFL Management Group can clarify, via this forum?

    Anyway, a simple check via the Companies House website reveals who is behind KCMJ LLP. It could be that one might notice some 'synergies' with the names of those who were involved in the design, creation, registration and administration of the historic 'facilities' it now seeks to have ex-customers sign up for another round of representation and..... surely to pay £000s more in fees. Of course, as has always been the case, in return for more representation fees no guarantee is given that additional tax will be avoided.

    Ah, but as a general precept, surely one must accept that, in staving off an HMRC attack of non-compliance/illegality, it's absolutely reasonable to expect ex-customers (who will have paid notable fees to use the 'facilities' as part of their contract worker lifestyle) to pay for the time of those who created said 'facilities' and convinced customers everything about them was all fine and dandy - correct?! With the sign-up deadline for representation just passed, wonder how many ex-customers of IFL Management Group's 'facilities' took up KCMJ LLP's invite?

  5. #135

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeverTheTwain View Post
    I can assure you they are definitely not aligned! I am curious as to whether Big Group would consider merging with the KCMJ litigation (or other way round) as it appears to be along reasonably similar lines. I can understand all sides want to retain their market of generated fees but more people maybe willing to join the fight if the fees are reduced.
    Neither knows the other exists, so why would they?

  6. #136

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    For clarity.

    Big Group is well aware of KCMJ, its connections, its officers and its activities. We are also aware of the history of the arrangements with which the above are identified. We have an analysis of those arrangements and our own view as to the likely outcomes.

    Late last year we met with two senior people from KCMJ and had an interesting discussion around the route forwards in terms of resisting HMRC and the various legal options.

    For reasons of confidentiality I will not reveal details. Suffice to say that there were (and remain) certain synergies and some differences.

    The key difference is perhaps in the question of the loan charge.

    KCMJ has set out its view and strategy with regards to that in the links mentioned above.

    Big Group is not aligned with that strategy for reasons I'll flesh out below.

    Big Group is more inclined to support LCAG which is seeking a political solution to the loan charge problem. BG believes that whilst there are legal grounds for a Judicial Review against the loan charge, the reality is that none of the arguments we have seen supporting such action are sufficiently strong (in our view) to have a realistic chance of having that charge removed from the statute book, or of being significantly restricted.

    We believe that LCAG is correct in seeking to change Government policy here rather than line the pockets of lawyers and those instructing lawyers to take a case that has little prospect of success.

    Let us also not forget that even if the loan charge vanished tomorrow (via political or legal action), HMRC remain of the view that the loans received are income.

    Mel Stride repeats his mantra that the "schemes were always defective" (whatever that means) at every opportunity.

    Does anybody therefore think that even if the loan charge falls, this argument will go away?

    Big Group started with the proposition that the liability as advanced by HMRC was based on flawed principles. It remains of that view and everything it does it aimed toward proving that view.

    Originally it was hoped that as Tribunal and Supreme Court decisions aligned behind BG original startegy, that HMRC would stop wasting public money, accept the compromise that remains on the table from Big group and allow our thousands of members to start their lives again.

    Unfortunately HMRC is being driven by the whips of their masters towards what now looks like a showdown in litigation. Big Group has adapted to that litigation strategy (reluctantly) but is gearing up for a fight against the original HMRC argument.

    Winning or losing a legal fight on the application of the loan charge is not relevant to that argument.

    As part of the discussion we had with KCMJ, the strategy of challenging loan charge and then the substantive matter was discussed. For the reasons above, our short term plans did not align and although we remain open and willing to take on the substantive issues in litigation we are not persuaded that a legal action against the loan charge is of sufficient reward for our clients.

    As mentioned, we consider LCAG to have a better strategy in relation to the loan charge. LCAG has had some success in preliminary skirmishes on this of course and we hope that this will be a precursor to a major defeat for HMG.

    I hope this explains where we are.
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  7. #137

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    Default Accountants: paying their costs to defend their own creation(s)!

    Quote Originally Posted by webberg View Post
    For clarity.

    Big Group is well aware of KCMJ, its connections, its officers and its activities. We are also aware of the history of the arrangements with which the above are identified. We have an analysis of those arrangements and our own view as to the likely outcomes.

    Late last year we met with two senior people from KCMJ and had an interesting discussion around the route forwards in terms of resisting HMRC and the various legal options.

    For reasons of confidentiality I will not reveal details. Suffice to say that there were (and remain) certain synergies and some differences.

    The key difference is perhaps in the question of the loan charge.

    KCMJ has set out its view and strategy with regards to that in the links mentioned above.

    Big Group is not aligned with that strategy for reasons I'll flesh out below.

    Big Group is more inclined to support LCAG which is seeking a political solution to the loan charge problem. BG believes that whilst there are legal grounds for a Judicial Review against the loan charge, the reality is that none of the arguments we have seen supporting such action are sufficiently strong (in our view) to have a realistic chance of having that charge removed from the statute book, or of being significantly restricted.

    We believe that LCAG is correct in seeking to change Government policy here rather than line the pockets of lawyers and those instructing lawyers to take a case that has little prospect of success.

    Let us also not forget that even if the loan charge vanished tomorrow (via political or legal action), HMRC remain of the view that the loans received are income.

    Mel Stride repeats his mantra that the "schemes were always defective" (whatever that means) at every opportunity.

    Does anybody therefore think that even if the loan charge falls, this argument will go away?

    Big Group started with the proposition that the liability as advanced by HMRC was based on flawed principles. It remains of that view and everything it does it aimed toward proving that view.

    Originally it was hoped that as Tribunal and Supreme Court decisions aligned behind BG original startegy, that HMRC would stop wasting public money, accept the compromise that remains on the table from Big group and allow our thousands of members to start their lives again.

    Unfortunately HMRC is being driven by the whips of their masters towards what now looks like a showdown in litigation. Big Group has adapted to that litigation strategy (reluctantly) but is gearing up for a fight against the original HMRC argument.

    Winning or losing a legal fight on the application of the loan charge is not relevant to that argument.

    As part of the discussion we had with KCMJ, the strategy of challenging loan charge and then the substantive matter was discussed. For the reasons above, our short term plans did not align and although we remain open and willing to take on the substantive issues in litigation we are not persuaded that a legal action against the loan charge is of sufficient reward for our clients.

    As mentioned, we consider LCAG to have a better strategy in relation to the loan charge. LCAG has had some success in preliminary skirmishes on this of course and we hope that this will be a precursor to a major defeat for HMG.

    I hope this explains where we are.
    One of my MAJOR gripes about this (and I have a few!) is that, taking the lead of 'Specsgalore', I now find from a search of old Companies House records it was MJ Kerridge who in 2011 set up the 'Berwick Associates' payroll facility HMRC claims "does not work and never did" and it's the very same MJ Kerridge who, through Chater Financial Consultants Ltd and now KCMJ LLP, has looked/is looking to customers of that very same facility to pay him to defend HMRC's enquiry into its fundamental legality! In my line of specialist work, and I guess most/all of you will be the same, I have to guarantee my clients (have PI cover) against any defective products/service/advice I might give and they certainly wouldn't stand for any suggestion of me charging them to put right something I'd previously done for them that they'd already paid me handsomely for! Surely a professional accountant had and has a regulatory/legal duty to have created a payroll facility (such as Berwick) that 'worked' (i.e. was legal and compliant) at the time?

    In recent days Mel Stride has repeated his comment about it being very clear from the start the various schemes (presumably including the Berwick Associates one) NEVER worked, so how were innocent contractors sold something like the Berwick payroll facility which was created by a professional accountant who should have known it didn't work? Tommy Sheppard, MP for Edinburgh East, stood up in Parliament on 8 January 209 and said "The real culprits in this are not the individuals who were conned and duped by professionals into taking out these schemes and now face bankruptcy, but the firms that designed and sold them the schemes in the first place, some of which are still operating." Well said mate, well flippin' said!

    Where a payroll facility ends up landing its customers with tax liabilities they were NEVER warned they might suffer at some future point, will HMRC go after the assets of the designer/creator and the promoter before it screws the hapless victims? If there's any justice, it surely will, and I for one will provide whatever info they need to make that happen!
    Last edited by Centrick; 15th January 2019 at 13:54.

  8. #138

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    I have no comment on the history of the scheme or the people behind it.

    I agree that certain members of the accounting profession has not exactly advanced the standing of their organisation and have arguably called into disrepute not only the work they did, but by extension the work of all professionals.

    I could go on to explain that how this situation arose might be based on who the accountant's client was; about how in tax, everything said is an opinion, not a fact; about how risk warnings were delivered (if at all).

    The core fact remains however that non professionals were entitled to believe that the advice of a professional carries some weight. In the instances we see in these forums, that is a belief that has been misplaced.

    You do have remedy via the various professions' regulating body. You may have remedy via the Courts where negligence is involved. (I'm not suggesting that is the case here as I'm not aware of all the details).

    I have raised this in various places and been roundly criticised for bringing disrepute onto the profession. Nonetheless, I continue to do this because without learning from errors how do we get better?

    In terms of HMRC chasing others for your debts - not going to happen.

    That crosses so many legal barriers that it is a non starter.
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  9. #139

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    Default Accountants: paying their costs to defend their own creation(s)!

    Quote Originally Posted by webberg View Post
    I have no comment on the history of the scheme or the people behind it.

    I agree that certain members of the accounting profession has not exactly advanced the standing of their organisation and have arguably called into disrepute not only the work they did, but by extension the work of all professionals.

    I could go on to explain that how this situation arose might be based on who the accountant's client was; about how in tax, everything said is an opinion, not a fact; about how risk warnings were delivered (if at all).

    The core fact remains however that non professionals were entitled to believe that the advice of a professional carries some weight. In the instances we see in these forums, that is a belief that has been misplaced.

    You do have remedy via the various professions' regulating body. You may have remedy via the Courts where negligence is involved. (I'm not suggesting that is the case here as I'm not aware of all the details).

    I have raised this in various places and been roundly criticised for bringing disrepute onto the profession. Nonetheless, I continue to do this because without learning from errors how do we get better?

    In terms of HMRC chasing others for your debts - not going to happen.

    That crosses so many legal barriers that it is a non starter.

    Responses to my posting of 9th January have been incredibly interesting and useful to me, so thanks to all.

    It might interest some of you to know that within March 2011 publicity material, MJ Kerridge wrote to target clients that his Berwick Associates payroll facility “…is not subject to the “DOTAS” rules as it is anodyne without a ”tax avoidance” (HMRC words) motive involved” and that he was the contact “for tax/legislation questions”. Therefore, to ensure there was absolutely no possibility of misleading innocent people who wanted a compliant payroll solution and were reasonably placing their trust in advice received from a Chartered Accountant who had created one (as per Companies House records), one is left to assume MJ Kerridge knew sufficient of UK tax regulations and the law relating to matters of tax avoidance to support his use of the “…anodyne” statement in relation to Berwick?

    I also discovered the signed ‘Application for Incorporation of a Limited Liability Partnership’ (as per Companies House records) states Berwick Associates was created “…for carrying on lawful business”. Therefore, if HMRC now thinks the facility operated by Berwick and its creator was NOT lawful, what will it/the regulator/the Courts do about it?

    I’m certainly going to take up the suggestion of webberg and speak to the regulator. So, following a quick internet search for further information, I’ll be calling the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (01908 248 250) and reckon I won’t be the first or the last to do it! After years of sleepless nights and a stressed-out existence that has badly affected my wife and kids, it’s about time (as has recently been mentioned in Parliament) that HMRC fixed a more appropriate target in its sights...

  10. #140

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    Default Maybe the MPs can help us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specsgalore View Post

    I also discovered the signed ‘Application for Incorporation of a Limited Liability Partnership’ (as per Companies House records) states Berwick Associates was created “…for carrying on lawful business”. Therefore, if HMRC now thinks the facility operated by Berwick and its creator was NOT lawful, what will it/the regulator/the Courts do about it?

    I’m certainly going to take up the suggestion of webberg and speak to the regulator. So, following a quick internet search for further information, I’ll be calling the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (01908 248 250) and reckon I won’t be the first or the last to do it! After years of sleepless nights and a stressed-out existence that has badly affected my wife and kids, it’s about time (as has recently been mentioned in Parliament) that HMRC fixed a more appropriate target in its sights...
    I was messaged with a great idea (I think!) and I'm going to start pulling everything together now. In the House of Commons on 8th January, as they were all very vocal with their criticism of the designers and promoters of facilities that "were always defective and never worked" (Mel Stride of HM Treasury and HMRC), the idea is that we should send all the Berwick promo materials to Sir Edward Davey MP, Wes Streeting MP and Tommy Sheppard MP to help them strengthen their argument that customers acted in total good faith on information supplied by the creator accountant. I have all sorts of materials, including some slides given at the accountant's sales meeting in early-2011 (there were 20+ potential customers there, and also reps from Choice Premier), also a series of 'Berwick Press Releases' that explain the facility and also a white folder of stuff given out at the accountant's meeting in March 2014 which he arranged because of HMRC having opened its enquiry. What do others in this forum think and do you have anything else worth sending to the MPs?
    Last edited by Centrick; 16th January 2019 at 14:19.

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