Alert over HMRC issuing ‘scores’ of wrong APNs

The “examine it carefully” advice to contractors being sent a value under the Contractor Loan Settlement Opportunity seems to also apply to those receiving Accelerated Payment Notices.

In fact, “scores” of APNs demanding much larger sums than expected have reportedly been issued by the taxman, according to Neal Todd, partner at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner.

Speaking at the weekend about APNs, Mr Todd told the Financial Times that HM Revenue & Customs had got them “spectacularly wrong on several occasions.”

The sheer volume of notices that have been issued and the fact that the issuing team cannot see an APN recipient’s full tax records, were cited in the newspaper as potential reasons why.

It was also said that, due to a backlog at HMRC, recipients of APNs who have ‘bona fide representations’ are likely to wait “at least four months” to get a response from the Revenue.         

This relates to an APN stipulating that although HMRC says it must be paid within 90 days from the date it was issued, taxpayers can challenge the notice within this three-month period.

By making such a representation on the APN’s validity or the amount specified, the recipient may be granted an extra 30 days to pay but this depends on how long it takes HMRC to reply.

Except for such representations, APNs cannot be appealed but a legal challenge via Judicial Review is underway in some cases, with a seminal case likely to be decided early next month.

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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