Withdrawn APNs climb to 6,000

The 2,000 Montpelier scheme contractors wrongly sent Accelerated Payment Notices by the taxman were just the tip of the iceberg, as incorrectly issued APNs now stand at 6,000.

In fact, in an online update, city lawyers said that although HM Revenue & Customs has issued more than 79,000 ‘pay-up first’ notices, those not issued in error amount to less; 73,000.

But it is “likely” that many more APNs could have been issued wrongly yet have not been withdrawn (the 6,000 have), because errors have not been spotted, said the lawyers at RPC.

The law firm added that APNs typically get withdrawn if the figures are miscalculated, or where a condition which must be satisfied before HMRC can issue an APN, is not satisfied.

So an APN recipient “should not simply assume” that their APN is correct, says the firm’s Adam Craggs, meaning “businesses and individuals” in doubt “should not simply…pay up.”

“These figures are going to do little to silence their critics or reassure taxpayers that HMRC is exercising its powers in a proportionate and lawful manner,” he said. “Clearly, HMRC doesn’t always get it right.”

Under the APN regime, HMRC can demand tax that it believes is owed without having to first establish that there is a tax liability before an independent tax tribunal or court.

Taxpayers have only 90 days to pay the amount demanded in their APN with no right of appeal, although representations can be made against it and the underlying tax/NICs disputed.

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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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