MPs will ask advisers to loan charge contractors to give evidence

The Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness APPG is set to launch a second call for evidence specifically for advisers, ContractorUK understands.

So unlike the group’s first call, which was aimed at contractors who face the loan charge or who settled to avoid it, the next call will be for experts assisting them with the HMRC policy.

Due to be sounded after local elections finish, the APPG’s new call has its roots in the first call, because it encouraged a number of advisers with clients hit by the charge to contribute.

'Enlightening'

To ensure MPs on the cross-party parliamentary group receive further “enlightening” evidence from those assisting the taxpayers, all advisers will be invited to make a submission.

ContractorUK further understands from an APPG source that the evidence received from both the first and second call will be shared directly with Treasury minister Lucy Frazer.

Told of the development, a loan charge critic said: “The hope has got to be that the minister reads it and sees that the reality is very different from the picture being painted by HMRC.”

'Failure to answer openly'

MPs themselves braved to Ms Frazer last week that her own department is turning a blind eye too.

“[We have] seen no evidence that the Treasury is willing to admit the consequences of enforcing the loan charge”,  wrote Conservative MP Greg Smith, Labour MP Mohammad Yasin and DUP MP Sammy Wilson.

“The Treasury and HMRC’s failure to answer questions openly and honestly… has not gone away.

“[But] there will be devastating consequences if the government doesn’t change its approach [to enforcing the loan charge] and come up with a more reasonable and fair one.”

'Misleading'

Having reconstituted for another year, the LCTF APPG say they now want Ms Frazer to agree to attend an open Q&A session, at a time of her choice, for two hours – such is the weight of concerns.

Yet ominously, a letter by the minister to the 250-strong MP group disappointed so much that they wrote to HMRC chief executive Jim Harra instead, and his answers were “misleading”.

The loan charge critic, who actively campaigns against the HMRC policy said: “[The minister] has only so far listened to HMT and HMRC.

“She has not looked at any independent evidence, and seems to want to wash her hands of the issue by asking Mr Harra, civil servant, to deal with it.”

'Hear the reality of the loan charge'

According to Twitter users, Ms Frazer’s approach is at odds with her professional background.

“Lucy, as a barrister you understand [the] need to examine all evidence before forming opinion,” one loan charge contractor appealed, messaging the minister directly.

“HMRC have given you their views, please attend [the APPG’s requested meeting] and hear the reality of the loan charge.”

'Lives are on the line'

Ahead of the APPG’s follow-up evidence call for advisers, another contractor tweeted: “The evidence [already collected by] the LCTF APPG sounds worrying and will need examination.

“Let's hope Lucy Frazer MP takes up the APPG invitation to come and listen to it .This is important as lives are on the line, with eight [lives] already lost to this retrospective tax.”

Julia Kermode, of independent work champion IWORK could be among those advisers to workers caught by the charge who responds to the APPG’s follow-up call.

Unsettled that such a call should even be needed – but aware perhaps that MPs don’t fancy their chances of Ms Frazer appearing before them, Kermode posted: “Surely [as a minister she at least] will agree to a meeting to hear evidence”.

Profile picture for user Simon Moore

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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