HMRC has found a very nice little earner wrt its accelerated payment notices (APNs) scheme, which extracted £1.3bn from taxpayers and SMEs in 2016/17.
APN's are more than a little controversial, as they give HMRC the power to demand tax it believes it is owed before the dispute is adjudicated. Those affected have only 90 days to pay the sum, and have no right of appeal.
"Ironically" HMRC's prime targets are not large businesses but the low hanging fruit of individuals and SME's. The compliance yield from the Counter Avoidance Directorate rose significantly for individuals, whilst the amount collected from large businesses fell significantly from £943m in 2015/16 to £19m in 2016/17.
Dominic Arnold, head of tax investigations and disputes at Moore Stephens, is quoted by economia accusing HMRC of making full use of its powers to “shoot first and ask questions later”:
“Its ability to demand accelerated payments remains a draconian, but clearly increasingly effective mechanism for HMRC to clamp down on what it sees as abusive tax schemes.HMRC is more than happy with the arrangement, its spokesperson said:
That’s all well and good for the Treasury. However, it’s a heavy price for taxpayers to pay before they have even had a chance to put their case. Small businesses and individuals can be put under immense strain, financially and emotionally, while the process is ongoing.
Whether they have crossed a line or not, they don’t have long to find what can often amount to thousands of pounds in disputed tax.”
"HMRC has an excellent record in supporting those in genuine difficulty, including offering more time to pay if appropriate.
APNs change where the disputed tax sits while the issue is being investigated, ensuring that those who have used avoidance schemes are in the same position as everyone else who pays their tax, up front, and on time. The regime does not change taxpayer appeal rights."
Last year HMRC was forced to withdraw 4,300 APNs issued in error out of a total of 60,000.
Tax does have to be taxing.
Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations
Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.
Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.
However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.
What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?
Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.
To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance
HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"