The Loan Charge All-Party Parliamentary Group published its latest survey report November 5 in which more than 2,000 people believed to be facing the loan charge detailed how it, and HMRC's pursuit of its payment, had impacted their lives.
According to the survey, carried out between October 23 and October 28, one in six respondents are yet to receive settlement figures from HMRC detailing how much is owed, and a third have still not been formally notified of the charge by the taxman.
When approached by FTAdviser HMRC maintained more than 99 per cent of "customers" who had provided the relevant information by the April 2019 deadline had now received settlement calculations, as of August 31.
The MPs' report found more than 60 families were believed to have lost their homes as a result of the loan charge and two respondents reported they had been made homeless.
Further respondents said they had "seriously considered" suicide facing the charge and the parliamentary group also received reports of alleged miscarriages due to the stress of the situation.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group said much of the sentiment expressed in its most recent findings was similar to that published in its March survey - but where previous responses had focused on the legislation itself as the cause of distress, resentment was now growing towards HMRC's behaviour "wreaking havoc on taxpayers' lives".
The report said:
"In addition to HMRC’s inadequate ‘service’ towards taxpayers, participants have continued to emphasise that they are fearful, uncertain and this is now giving rise to a growing sense of anger at the perceived unjust manner in which HMRC is treating them.Outside of the specific questions included in the survey, respondents were invited to share details of their experiences of living with the loan charge.
The number of those participants who have claimed bankruptcy remains small. We can speculate that increased levels of bankruptcy are more likely to occur after taxpayers have signed settlement agreements.
Nevertheless, 94 per cent of participants remain in a perpetual state of limbo not knowing what the future holds."
These accounts included claims of abortions to "spare the unborn child from living with stress and threat of poverty".
Irrespective of the arguments about whether the loan charge is a retrospective tax or not, quite clearly a situation whereby people are committing suicide and having abortions because of a tax bill is wrong on every level.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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