Contractors' Questions: What are the next steps for BN66 contractors?

Contactor’s Question: What are the next steps for contractors impacted by Section 58 of the Finance Act 2008, also known as BN66, in terms of potential recourse?

I had heard that the lobbyist No To Retro Tax intends to make a complaint against HM Revenue & Customs on behalf of affected contractors but also that, ironically, it would fall to HMRC to look into such a complaint. Surely that’s a waste of time, given the invariably slim chance that HMRC would upheld a complaint against itself?

Expert’s Answer: Regarding the complaint to HMRC, the intention is to have the Parliamentary Ombudsman take up the complaint.

However, before we can get the Ombudsman to look at this issue, there are some steps that need to be followed. The first is that the complaint has to go through HMRC’s own internal complaints process; then be reviewed by a separate complaints team in HMRC. We are currently going through HMRC with a view to having the Ombudsman take up the complaint and already have several MPs willing to make the referral for us.

In terms of an update on where we are, we are currently coordinating three strands of activity:

  • Mass lobbying. Having NTRT members go and meet their MP and talk them through the new evidence we have uncovered about Padmore and the intention of Parliament.
  • Coordinating a letter to be signed by as many MPs as possible calling on George Osborne to use next month’s Budget to repeal the retrospective elements of Section 58.
  • Taking forward activity to secure an amendment in this year’s Finance Bill should the government not be willing to introduce one.

The expert was Alistair Renshaw, chairman of No To Retro Tax.

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