Boox contractors get their Managed Service Company appeals acknowledged by HMRC

Boox contractors are receiving confirmation from the taxman that he has received their appeals against him accusing them of breaching Managed Service Company legislation.

The owner of Boox, The App Accounting Group, said on Friday that “a number of appeals” against Regulation 80 determinations (issued by HMRC in March 2022) have now been filed.

Contractors with Boox who have sent an appeal but not heard from HMRC are advised to resend, chase HMRC for acknowledgement, and note the sending and slow response times.

'Put the pressure on HMRC'

“Put the pressure on because if they are not conducting themselves properly, that can add weight to a tribunal’s thinking,” said Markel Tax’s Paul Mason, who issued the advice.

Ahead of guidance by Markel this week, exclusively for ContractorUK, Mr Mason acknowledged that HMRC may be inadequately resourced to deal with 2,000 appealing contractors.

Speaking online to IPSE, the Markel director said he “suspects” the tax authority was “probably not fully geared up” to receive the slew of contractor appeals.

'Timeline'

Since March, contractors’ advisers have not always agreed on the aspects of appealing, notably whether or not to use a standard template, and whether or not to request a review.

But advisers have been unanimous that appealing is a must, assuming contractors at Boox and also MSC legislation-probed Churchill Knight do not wish to accept the liability as theirs.

In its Friday update, and suggesting HMRC may be struggling to cope, The App Accounting Group said HMRC is unable to provide any “timeline” for any of the appeals.

'Contractors advised to do one thing or another'

The Revenue will instead just be working through them “in date order,” said a seemingly unimpressed Christopher Clark, a director at The App Accounting Group.

He added: “We are aware that a number of clients have requested an independent review [from HMRC] and we have had sight of some of these.”

Also speaking on Friday, a lawyer who advises agencies concerned about the potential transfer of MSC debts, said contractors “keep getting advised [to do] one [thing] or another.”

“Against that backdrop, it’s difficult for us to give a clear non-partisan message [about] the legal position that contractors and others can trust,” said the lawyer, his firm’s founding partner.

'In a little bit of a bubble'

But the prospect of advisers to contractors hit by HMRC’s MSC probes unifying to offer a single, definite set of guidelines, seems slim – except, perhaps, to send a political message.

“We have to look after them [our 30 affected members] almost in a little bit of a bubble, because they have certain legal entitlements,” began IPSE’s Andy Chamberlain.

“[But] in terms of campaigning…we are thinking about how and when we are going to do this…and we are probably going to do something relatively soon.”

IPSE’s policy director added: “I do think there’s something political to be done here at some stage. And I would then be very keen to join up with other groups who have similar aims”.

'Blanket approach'

Providers of staffing and accounting services scrutinised by the Revenue under the MSC legislation (or who could be scrutinised) sound as if they will be front of the queue.

The App Accounting Group’s Mr Clark told ContractorUK: “It appears that HMRC have not considered the individual circumstances of the client[s but instead] applied a ‘blanket approach’ to their determinations.

“We believe this to be unlawful, contrary to HMRC’s Charter and support[ive of] our initial view that HMRC’s application of the legislation is flawed.”

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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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