'December general election makes January Loan Charge deadline unfair'
The ‘time and space’ which a loan charge expert said looked available to put in place Sir Amyas Morse’s incoming recommendations no longer is, due to a general election on December 12th.
Issuing this verdict directly to Sir Amyas, MPs said the vote last week to approve the UK going to the polls next month was problematic for both his review and the January 31st disclosure deadline.
“Some of the changes that could be recommended by your review could well need amendments to legislation,” began the Loan Charge APPG in a “urgent” appeal on Thursday .
“But [these amendments] will now not be possible until mid-January at the earliest. Therefore, it is illegitimate to require people to declare the Loan Charge on 31st January.”
'Examine all the evidence'
A complete suspension of both the Loan Charge and “all associated” HMRC activity is the answer, the MPs wrote in a letter to Sir Amyas.
But the former NAO head should also extend the lifespan of the review, due at present to conclude in a few weeks, “to be able to properly and fully examine all the evidence”.
If not, then mid to late January is the very first opportunity the Treasury would have implement the review’s recommendations. But by then, the 31st could be imminent.
“[It is] not reasonable nor fair to give people a matter of days to consider the Treasury’s reaction to the review findings and to take necessary actions,” the MPs say.
“People must not be rushed into taking life-changing decisions and must be given sufficient time to carefully consider the consequences of any announced changes to the policy on their personal situation.”
Sir Ed Davey, chair of the Loan Charge APPG, says the best course of action would be for Sir Amyas to write to chancellor Sajid Javid requesting the charge’s “necessary suspension.”
Alongside group vice chairs Ruth Cadbury MP and Ross Thompson MP, Sir Ed said the chancellor should be told that the January 31st deadline was no longer “reasonable”.
Mr Javid is already under pressure however, having heard from the OBR that his decision to cancel Budget 2019 and not reschedule it could affect their legislative requirements.
To avoid doing so, the OBR plans an initial publication of its restated March forecasts on Thursday November 7th, having explained to the Treasury:
“It is not for us to determine the date on which we publish our forecasts, unless the chancellor leaves it so late to name a date himself that we feel we have to do so to ensure that we are able to publish two forecasts [as primary legislation requires] within the financial year.”