Jenny F., London:
“The devastating result of this, was he saw the only way of protecting his family and their future was to go for a walk – unfortunately this walk took him in front of a train. His family is now left to pick up the pieces of their lives, without a loving husband and father, and are now claiming benefits – not quite the result HMRC was hoping for I suspect, but then HMRC don’t see the personal and human consequences of all this .”
“The scandal is that professional bodies have advised many individuals to join tax schemes, stating that they were DOTAS-approved by HMRC. So you all need to understand HMRC are culpable in this, together with professional advisers.
I ask any fair-minded people to try and understand what has gone on and how I and many others face bankruptcy, divorces, family break ups, because of the Tories’ & HMRC’s actions.”
Joan E., London:
“At no time did I ever hear the phrase “Tax Avoidance”. If I had I would have run a mile.
(…) We sold our home to pay the APNs (once they had been corrected, as the figure demanded was based on an estimate of 50% more than the actual money received). HMRC have been completely intransigent in dealing with my personal situation, and I know I am far from being alone here.(…) I have paid what was demanded by the APN legislation, and now the Government have changed the rules again. How can any of this this possibly be right or just ?”
“We are hard working, law abiding citizens who would never intentionally do anything wrong and feel we have been totally duped by the scheme providers and let down by the government who have introduced retrospective laws.(…) Our future is officially screwed!!!
We are now living on a day to day basis and trying to keep things as normal as possible for the children even though we do not know what we are going to do or where we are going to live.”
Rex W. and Son., London:
“How can HMRC reach settlement with Google and yet they won’t settle with me, effectively forcing me into bankruptcy?
This is so shocking to me and so stressful for my child who has been told that HMRC’s debt collectors will take everything including his toys. Where is the humanity in this? We would be treated better if I was a hardened criminal.
I now have no choice other than to spend my remaining funds fighting this all the way, leaving even less for HMRC than they are going to get now.”
John B., London:
“HMRC, through retrospective action and legislation, behave like common extortionists.
The recent Budget 2016 is retrospection at it’s worst, as an individual trying to move forward with his life, HMRC and HMG just sunk to a new low.
How on earth can anyone make a decision when they can retrospectively change the law to tax you?”
“This is causing me and my family immense stress. I can’t believe that something that was legal can now be retrospectively called illegal (something that HMRC has failed to prove so far). If HMRC believe that these schemes do not work and therefore deemed illegal, then why have they dragged their feet for so long in closing down the schemes? (…)
The impression you get is HMRC would rather bankrupt you than seek a fair settlement the way they have with big corporations like Google etc.”
Ben W., Kent
“They have come after the small person rather tackling this at source with the scheme providers, where is the scheme providers’ day in court? We are all the victims of mis-selling, which the HRMC could have stopped years earlier”
Robert C., London:
“I feel so completely helpless. I have been taken for a ride by an accountant that I trusted and a government who show no compassion for the impact their poorly conceived policies have on their citizens. I am not rich. I am completely broke, yet I am labelled a “wealthy tax avoider”
Simon H., Essex:
“Had HMRC responded in a timely manner, instead of waiting nearly 10 years, none of this would be happening, but I guess they needed to wait for their extortionate interest and Inheritance Tax to accumulate sufficiently.
(…) I have been the victim of a scam but HMRC does not care about this fact and as far as they are concerned, I am liable for everything – the providers have got off scot free (…)
I would have been better off had I never worked and just claimed benefits for the last 10 years. And I’m supposed to be the immoral ultra-rich tax-avoider.”
Lochman K., London:
“(…) My main motivation for entering into a “tax avoidance scheme” was to obtain clarity regarding my position (…) HMRC just seem to pluck numbers out of thin air, contrary to the requirement that they act with due care. (…) It seems that the government won’t be content until all freelancers like myself have been driven out of business and only the large consultancies remain. The irony of course is that those large consultancies are the real serial tax avoiders and the sums that they avoid are vast.”
Adam B., London:
“(…) So this is now causing a huge problem in my marriage and my home life as we are becoming increasingly stressed at the thought of what looks like is going to happen.
With no option to be able to pay this amount, I will end up facing bankruptcy. (…) I will end up unemployed and probably claiming benefits (which I have never claimed in my entire life)”
Steve D., London:
“(…) Due to uncertainty with IR35 I signed up with a scheme which I told was fully legal and compliant with HMRC and had QC backing (…) This is causing me and my family immense stress. I can’t believe that something that was legal can now be retrospectively called illegal (something that HMRC has failed to prove so far) (…) It’s totally unacceptable that HMG is being allowed to introduce these bills – they either do not care or do not understand that they will ultimately destroy many families.”
Richard H, Chester:
“(…) HMG have more than moved the goal posts they have relocated them to another planet where retrospective taxation is the name of the game (…) The consequences for me are catastrophic – I don’t have the means to meet these demands, not now, nor will I be able to do so in the future. If this goes the distance I will be ruined, bankrupt and possibly unable to work in my industry again.”
Matthew B., London:
“(…) The government have betrayed me. Every human being should be able to know the law of the country they live in, to live within that law and feel safe from persecution. I now have the prospect of bankruptcy ahead of me because of the completely outrageous prospect of HMRC being able to change the law with back dated effect, having done nothing wrong and followed their rules every step of the way. (…)”
Erik L. , London:
“(…)Several years after filing correct tax returns with not a hint of issue from HMRC, to come close to generating the required sum in 30 days represents the financial destruction of my family, at the very least the loss of my home. (…)”
Philip E., Birmingham:
“(…) We are worried about the prospect of bankruptcy and the chance of losing our house (…) To result to such draconian and retrospective tactics, and totally abuse what the DOTAS legislation was designed for, WILL result in people such as myself having their lives destroyed (…)”
Jeremy R., London:
“(…)I’ve come to the conclusion that HMRC aren’t taking settlement seriously at all. Why would they, when they can just take the money, based on dreamt up figures? They can name their price and just take it, and there’s nothing I can do about it. No tribunal, no day in court, no outside body checking their sums.(…)”
David D., London:
“(…) Assuming i manage to raise these funds and pay the APN, in the event of a court ruling in our favour will I be compensated for punitive additional costs i have endured? No. (…) For any system to be respected and adhered to without derision and contempt, It must be seen to be fair and just. This system is neither, and therefore does not earn or deserve our respect.”
Rafael F., overseas
“(…)I have always been completely transparent with HMRC in my tax affairs and did not obscure any details surrounding my participation in the scheme. (…) HMRC have always had the necessary powers at their disposal to challenge DOTAS schemes, yet have dragged their feet, and rather than admit they have failed, have retrospectively changed their own rules – with no regard whatsoever about the damage they will and have caused by doing so”
Moorad M., Bournemouth
“(…) With APNs they are writing letters, and then even making phone calls to people.
Had they done the same when we were using the schemes, many of us would have not landed here. With HMRC not saying a word while all was being declared to them made things worse as it was kind of implicit acceptance by HMRC that everything was in order.”
Shipra S., Ilford
“HMRC sat on their hands for 8 years, they knew they would not win a case against the scheme, so they brought no test cases forward as they were supposed to – instead, they changed the law by misleading Parliament (…) [This law] made HMRC judge, jury and executioner (…) ”
Anna L., London
“HMRC recognized the [assessment] figure was nearly 14 times what it should have been, and yet when the APN was sent it still demands the first, higher figure! (…) How can HMRC expect anyone to pay a ‘Settlement” figure when they have proved they are incapable of performing the calculation of tax demanded under their revised rules accurately or consistently? (…) There is no accountability, HMRC are writing the rules and enforcing them with no oversight or requirement for accuracy.”
Nick H., London
“Although fully declared at the time, [the arrangements] were never challenged and have now reached life-changing amounts, with the expectation that hard working people, like myself, can simply write a cheque for 5 and sometimes 6 figure sums.(…)
HMRC seem unconcerned with personal circumstances, unwilling or unable to offer advice beyond their demands to pay. I suspect criminals are treated better than I have been (…) I’m starting to think bankruptcy and all it entails would be the least worse option, although doing so would be an end to my the career and render my family and I homeless.”
Robert B., Dartford
“This ability to retrospectively tax me and issue APNs without any leave to appeal or protest has shaken my confidence in the system to its core.
I’m not Google or Amazon , I’m an ordinary working man (…) I’m not sure how I’m going to cope, this will take away my pension , kids’ education fees, probably my house.”
Craig B., London
“The rules can be changed retrospectively so even when you think you’re playing by the rules and HMRC actually agreed with you, they may later arbitrarily decide you weren’t and there’s nothing you can do about it.
This new system is simply crown preference – ‘we just think you might owe us some money so you just have to give it to us now. And then we’ll see what happens about your appeal, shall we’, say HMRC”
Tony T., Essex
“I am not a convict or a rock star. I am a hard working British Citizen who took advantage of some tax planning that was deemed to be legal at the time (…) I feel for my fellow contractors that are caught up in this mess. There could be some very unsavoury outcomes and I hope the Government and decision makers can live with this.”
James B., London
” Without doubt the most shameful part of this situation is the government’s desire to retrospectively claim tax on all income, despite the fact that a good 20% of this revenue has been swallowed in fees by tax planners, who have either run off or are in the process of running. Effectively HMRC are demanding tax for creating a situation where individuals have been effectively ripped off in the biggest Ponzi scheme the government has ever sanctioned. None of this is tantamount to fairness..”
John H., Yorkshire
“The only means I have to cover the APN demands will be to sell my family home and put the money to one side. If I win against HMRC in court, I’ll never get my home back not to mention the £20k plus in selling and buying fees that it will cost me to raise the money for the APNs in the first place”
“UK Government should stop making tax payers scapegoats of this HMRC Scandal cover-up.
My situation has changed since I was contracting, I do not have any substantial bank balance, or any assets, due to expenses related to health issues in family my financial position has gotten quite weak. I am very stressed and not able to concentrate on anything in my life.”
“It looks like the HMRC was sleeping all these 7 years and suddenly they woke up thinking how to grab the money from the normal people like us. I didn’t have job in the past for two years and I am today in a situation where I do not have any money and secondly I do have my personal medical bills which is a big one and not sure how I can pay them”
“HMRC should be engaging with contractors who wish to settle and assisting people on a way forward.This has been a traumatic 18 months for me, with no clarity on the way forward.
Please, please, please can HMRC / Treasury not have a more humanistic take on this?”
If you would like to contribute your story, please e-mail it to testimonial AT dotas DASH scandal DOT org
Your testimonial will be anonymized if requested.