Loan Charge


HMRC have not made enough progress on the loan charge more than a year after a review concluded the policy caused serious distress to some taxpayers, according to a House of Lords committee.

HMRC got a grilling from peers about the fallout of the loan charge, with suggestions that the tax authority is causing hardship, poor at communicating with affected people and lacking in imagination in combating tax avoidance. But HMRC countered that it is improving their service to taxpayers and sought to explain why taxpayers may find their handling of the loan charge saga hard to understand. The committee of peers also heard from experts and those affected who gave their various takes on one of the most controversial areas of tax administration in recent years.

Treasury ministers should review and respond to the loan charge review within days of a new government being formed, the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has said.

Part of an occasional series in which CIOT tax experts explain the background to topical issues

In response to questioning from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee the Financial Secretary revealed that he would shortly be announcing 'clarifications' to the loan charge, including a commitment that HMRC will not apply the loan charge to a tax year which was closed on the basis of fully disclosed information.

MPs from across the political spectrum channelled the anger and distress of constituents affected by the ‘2019 loan charge’, during a 90 minute debate in Westminster Hall on Tuesday, and argued the government’s efforts should be focused on those who had enabled and promoted loan schemes rather than their often unwitting clients.

Peers held three hearings last week as part of their inquiry into the provisions of Draft Finance Bill 2018 (which focuses on Making Tax Digital and HMRC Powers). This followed an earlier hearing with representatives of tax and accountancy bodies, including the CIOT’s John Cullinane - see here