Chancellor faces three searching Loan Charge questions

The Loan Charge and HMRC Disguised Remuneration will come close to dominating tomorrow’s oral questions for the chancellor in the House of Commons.

Only covid-19 will be a bigger topic for MPs to quiz Rishi Sunak about, indicates a list of questions published in advance of the session, which features three on or about the charge.

Although Mr Sunak or a HM Treasury official responding on his behalf may choose to group the questions so as to provide just one answer, the three are about quite distinct ‘DR’ issues.  

'Working for HMRC while using schemes'

Scheduled to quiz the chancellor first, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson will ask him 'how many contractors have worked for HMRC while using disguised remuneration schemes.'

Mr Wilson was previously a supporter of New Clause 31 and Amendment 55, and was also a critic of HMRC’s policy over the summer of telephoning taxpayers at weekends.

Second to quiz Mr Sunak, Stephen Hammond for the Conservatives will ask the chancellor 'what steps HM Treasury has taken to support people who are subject to the Loan Charge.'

'How many contractors went on to settle'

A Loan Charge APPG member, Mr Hammond was among the MPs who called for the charge to be suspended to avoid both suicides and the undermining of a then-review into the charge.

Third to quiz the chancellor will be Tory MP Gareth Bacon, who will ask 'how many and what proportion of people who had settlement discussions with HMRC went on to settle.'

Mr Bacon has probed the Treasury about the loan charge before, such as in April when he asked if the charge was compatible with the Rees rules on tax retrospectivity.

'Many unanswered questions in this scandal'

The three questions come after HMRC published guidance that advisers can use to help contractors “understand how their disguised remuneration liabilities will be calculated.”

The ‘Disguised Remuneration Settlement Terms 2020’ follow publication earlier in the month of official guidance for contractors wanting a refund or waiver from DR settlements.

Addressing tomorrow’s trio of probes, the Loan Charge APPG thanked the MPs, saying there were still “many unanswered questions relating to the Loan Charge scandal.”

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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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