Following an appeal by the Chartered Institute of Taxation, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has agreed to reduce the level of court costs where it has applied for a protective claim for the recovery of NICs through employment benefit trusts (EBTs).
EBTs have been commonly used for employee share schemes, but HMRC has so far discovered more than 400 cases where potentially employees have been paid through EBTs, so avoiding NICs.
The Limitation Act means that in the case of tax years 1997/8 and 1998/9, HMRC has made protective claims to the county court before it is aware of how much, if anything, the companies in question owe.
Under normal circumstances, HMRC would seek to recover all court costs ' 800 per protective claim during the period the cases in question were lodged. It has since risen t...