Member Since: 4th Jan 2002
10th Mar 2020
Quite right, Lone Wolf. Furthermore, under Sec99 TMA:
"Any person who assists in or induces the making or delivery for any purposes of tax of any return or accounts which he knows to be incorrect shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding £500."
That would include any accountant, partner or even (strictly speaking) anyone acting in accordance with a partner's instructions. Sec99 Notices are, true to say, very rare but whenever they are issued to an accountant/accountancy practice you can bet your bottom dollar that HMRC will scrutinise every single return submitted by said firm/individual!
9th Jan 2020
My money is on this being a pre-cursor to a 12 month implementation delay. There's no other explanation, given the very short timescale and the fact that the new CEST tool was only wheeled last month. HMRC have form in this sort of thing. Off the top of my head I can recall the "new" CIS scheme, the SRT rules and MTD, for all of which the roll-out was delayed by at least 12 months.
The reason is invariably because HMRC "over-promise" delivery timetables to their Treasury masters, only for it to dawn on them very late in the day that they are simply not ready. And they will then claim that the delay is because their "customers" are ill-prepared and need more time.
20th Nov 2019
I would also endorse the comments of AndyC555. Everything these days seems to be a matter of perception; one might even say political correctness. It's no longer good enough to say "It was acceptable in the Eighties!"
The source of the trouble, in my view, lies in the provocative tax avoidance schemes used a decade or two ago, typically using offshore companies and loans that were not really loans, but there were dozens of variants. This led to the inevitable Government-led crackdown by HMRC, the introduction of DOTAS, the anti-Abusive Avoidance legislation, APNs and the contractor loan rules. If you keep poking the lion with a stick it will eventually attack you! The problem when you cast your net this wide, though, is that you then catch a lot of "small fry" in your net.
HMRC also played a blinder (depending on your view!) in what was blatantly a PR campaign against Avoidance (with a capital A) by co-operating with TV companies and, for example, allowing covert footage of presentations to be broadcast and the unconscionable (and illegal) release of the names of prominent footballers and other celebs, such as Jimmy Carr. Such has been the success of this "naming and shaming"campaign that these days being labelled a tax avoider is one notch above being an alleged paedophile! And we have all seen where that road leads to.
A few years ago I was involved in the planning and implementation of a plain vanilla salary sacrifice arrangement involving lorry drivers benchmark scale rates. We provided full details of the arrangements to HMRC's Clearance team and they issued formal clearance. A couple of years later, following a PAYE inspection the essential P11d dispensation was cancelled on the grounds that the haulage firm did not require receipts for lunches etc.
To cut a long story short our howls of protest eventually went right up to the Head of some part of HMRC's Counter-Avoidance division and she said to me "Well, it's avoidance, isn't it?" Clearance - what Clearance? (The irony is that HMRC's self-imposed requirement for receipts for benchmark scale rates has now been dropped!)
So here we are in 2019 where the shadow Chancellor, no less, seems unable to differentiate (or chooses not to) between aggressive tax avoidance and mere tax mitigation/planning of the kind listed in this thread. Some would say that's just reaping the whirlwind. But a sad state of affairs, nonetheless.
12th Jun 2019
I think what the majority of respondents are saying (and certainly that goes for me) is that we are not opposed to PTAs, per se. Indeed, I have one myself and so I am entirely unsurprised that 80% of ATT delegates have one, too.
A PTA can be of (limited) use where the taxpayer is NOT within the SA system. But where they are, the PTA really adds nothing to the sum of human knowledge, certainly as far as the tax agent is concerned.
Worse still, a PTA is entirely unintelligible to the lay person. In fact, as I stated in my first posting, they are unintelligible to me and I spent over 20 years as a senior Revenue Inspector and even longer than that as a specialist tax consultant.
I remain of the view that if a client is prepared to go to the expense of hiring an accountant/tax agent they are, by inclination, not going to want to spend time trying to decipher their PTA. You don't get a dog and bark yourself! But, even if they did, they could either misunderstand the info or ask the agent to clarify it, which defeats the object and increases their fees (or the agent's write-off time).
This is basically why we have an agent-only SA portal. By all means open up the PTA to agent view but encouraging clients to use it is, frankly, wrong-headed at best and downright dangerous at worst.
5th Jun 2019
To Nodrogbir (RIB Gordon??)
I had a similar situation to the one you've described with a one-off withdrawal on my own SIPP in April. I looked at my PTA and, frankly it was unintelligible. There's stuff on there about estimated income and tax liability for the year, RTI info held, estimated CY underpayment and the tax code itself, but no actual P2 breakdown!! I had to get that from my own SA record.
I didn't even bother to send the online form - I just phoned the general helpline and put up with the dire recorded so-called music (which hasn't changed in a decade) until a real person answered. My code was quickly put right with a rather wearied attitude, as in "Lord Help Me, another one of those!"
I have 50 years experience of tax both inside and outside the Revenue and if I find the PTA confusing my clients have got absolutely no chance. In fact I positively discourage them from using the system as the potential for a "DIY" disaster is enormous. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!
29th Apr 2019
"The directors are discharging the liabilities of the company through their loan accounts - so they are in fact paying for the vehicles themselves."
Sorry, you are making the classic mistake of letting logic overrule the legislative language. The legislation states that a benefit arises where a car is provided by the employer by reason of the employment. If the company takes out a lease on the car that is sufficient to satisfy that condition. For the car scale charge there is no direct equivalent to "making good", like there is with general BIKs. The scale charge can only be reduced if there is a required payment for private use (and ONLY the private use) of the car; as Judge Thomas observed, simply debiting the DLA does not satisfy this condition. Alternatively, the list price may be reduced by up to £5k if there is a required capital contribution.
The only other possible "get out clause" would be that private use of the vehicle is not only prohibited but does not/cannot occur. Not as easy as you may think, as the benefit is based on "availability", not only to the director/employee but also to members of their close family. So even a driving ban does not, of itself, prevent a scale charge from arising. (A SORN might.)
I think you'll find HMRC have all the angles covered on this one!
14th Feb 2019
Although, I cannot argue with the general sentiment of G Webber's post, on a point of order, Mr Chairman, this wasn't a prosecution, it was (as I understand it, anyway) an appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal against the lower Tribunal's decision in favour of the Revenue. As such they were not in any position but to argue their case, as flawed as their arguments may be.
True, they do act like rottweilers when it comes to NMW but the LSS prosecution strategy never came into play here: it was merely a case of disputed liability.
6th Feb 2019
Fair point but surely the answer is glaringly obvious? The company is paying non-allowable travel costs tax and NI-free which should have been subjected to PAYE/NI. So the company is liable - one might even say culpably liable - to pay the underpaid sums to HMRC. They can hardly argue that they have taken reasonable care etc if the poster him or herself has picked up on it!
30th Oct 2018
Beware the sleight of hand! Simultaneously, the NI upper threshold is being increased to £50,024. This means that all those "tax savings" charts in today's Newspapers are incorrect. These tables (copied from Treasury press releases) are showing £860 pa tax savings for those on £50k pa, i.e assuming a 20% saving on the raised threshold slice. But the actual net savings will be just 12% max, and even that's before taking into account any increased pension contributions which might be payable under auto-enrolment. Let's halve those savings, shall we?
The Chancellor giveth and the Chancellor taketh away!!
22nd May 2018
"Private sector wont roll over to have their tummy's tickled like the public sector has."
I really wish I could share your confidence in this but I very much fear that the private sector will turn out to be just as risk averse (and possibly even more so) than the public sector. Certainly for SMEs, where there would be a potentially serious impact on the bottom line if HMRC were to challenge a sub-contractor's employment status.
Hitherto, the cross to the Revenue's vampire has always been "make sure they work for you via a psc". If the private sector has to follow in the public sector footsteps this won't Count (sic!) for anything. One would also need to expose the said vampire to full sunshine!