By Phil Manley
“A few years ago the comedian & actor Ricky Gervais made a film named the “Invention of Lying”. In short, it displayed what can happen if only one person on earth had the ability to lie. As you would expect, he became a God to the rest of the world because everything he said was accepted as truthful.
Whilst this film was made as a light-hearted way to spend a few hours it had a strong element of truthfulness to it.
Lying seems to have become deeply ingrained in British culture. We accept it as the norm and no questions are ever asked even in the face of a stone-cold lie. It has since become so ingrained the entire country, led by a man who has been caught out lying numerous times, is heading towards independence from the EU in a bizarre situation which nobody now wants to admit to ever being part of (really – I don’t think I know a single person who admits to voting for Brexit).
Our morals have become so confused on the matter being truthful, honest and sincere, that it is deemed unacceptable to accuse somebody of lying* no matter what the evidence. It is considered worse to do so than the actual act itself!
The most outrageous example of this is that MPs cannot accuse one another in Parliament of lying. This, quite frankly, is utter madness. The official line is that this would be ‘ungentlemanly conduct’. Pardon me? So more ungentlemanly than say Melvyn Stride or Jesse Norman (the previous and current Financial Secretary to the Treasury) stating absolute lies to Parliament regarding the Loan Charge legislation, thereby in fact directly causing deaths via their penal policy; I have personally seen a relevant suicide note. Ah yes, God forbid we call them out on such matters, after all that would be “ungentlemanly”. I know they have lied, they know they have lied and I suspect realistically everybody reading this knows they have lied – yet let’s all pretend otherwise. Welcome to 2019 and the dystopian United Kingdom of the present day.
HMRC are a civil service department that exists for the sole purpose of collecting tax. They do not have the last word or any judicial authority on tax law. They certainly do not have the last word (or indeed any word) on common law despite what their latest CLSO2 settlement ‘opportunity’ claims (on a side note – has the word ‘opportunity’ ever been so badly misused?).
They have, over the past 18 months misrepresented the truth and, plainly speaking, lied in an abhorrent manner and likely caused, what I believe to be the following:
1. They have fooled even themselves by such constant lying and are now in a state of desperation. Best described in the following quote:
Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
― Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
2. They know they are lying and yet foolheartedly continue in a thirst for money/meeting targets (which by the way is foolish as I will explain below).
Either way, it’s wrong and I consider it appallingly disgusting that to call them out on such is to open oneself up to accusations of being ‘unprofessional’ or more comically ‘ungentlemanly’. Well to be frank and to cover future arguments on the matter I shall state now, you can, as Mr Ian Brown once sang, ‘kiss me where the sun doesn’t shine’ as I have clients and friends dying due to your lies.
If you think that I am wrong, feel free to sue me. Unfortunately, you will not succeed as you well know. Indeed, I much hope and encourage you to do so as this presents me with a chance to put your lies at the front of a court, which we both know you are desperate does not happen.
So where do we go from here? Well, let us perhaps head to the Chartered Institute of Taxation, the CIOT. This is the regulating institute of the entire taxation profession….but wait a minute -…there is a major problem!
I recognise that CIOT cannot be blamed for the behaviour of its members. On that basis we shall not discuss its previous board member who was charged with some extremely disturbing sexual offenses including paedophilia. It does however have to take responsibility for actions it takes once information is known, such as:
- One of the first ever DOTAS registered schemes being devised by a man, which the CIOT later chose as suitable to become its president. So erm, to confirm, HMRC always said these schemes didn’t work? Slightly bizarre therefore that CIOT didn’t seem to know this fact?*
*To be fair to
CIOT, this is also a complete lie by HMRC as they clearly did not ‘always say
these schemes did not work’ otherwise we would not even be here today, nor
would they have taken on contractors themselves via loan schemes over the years
now affected by the LC.
- The penultimate president considers it ‘an amusing anecdote’ to speak publicly about how he once fooled a judge into issuing an s20 notice as he needed it for his application to the commissioners to complete his HMRC inspector’s training.
In other words ‘potentially perpetrated alleged fraud on a taxpayer by lying to a special commissioner in hope it would financially benefit him personally’. Now, I am certainly not saying he is guilty of this act but it seems to me that, the person who was – until earlier this year – the head of CIOT and indeed utilised as the ‘independent’ voice by the Treasury select committee in their review into the Loan Charge responsible for destroying lives, should probably clarify whether this situation did in reality occur and if so, why he considers it acceptable. Otherwise, the allegation that most of his entire professional career will have been built upon an act of fraud will continue tarnishing his professional standing and reputation. In addition, it will also largely devalue any evidence given by him to the Treasury Select Committee. Before any of the twitter friends of his speak up claiming “you can blame anyone but its not his fault” You can stick it in the same place as Mr Brown suggests you kiss for all I care so save your keyboard warrioring for another time or agree to come and meet in person to discuss on camera.
Do I expect to receive an answer to this quite straightforward query? Of course not, it will be met with denial, anger and potentially threats. Yet, all it needs is a yes or no. Articulated answers about how times have changed – apparently “this was 20 years ago” – or how it was meant to be a joke. We simply wish to know whether this occurred or not. It really shouldn’t be that difficult. I would add though, before any hasty responses appear, that two witnesses attending the event suggest the context within which this had been presented was indeed NOT a joke at all and a quite sincere affair.
The pointless quest of HMRC
As mentioned above, we are at a stage that all HMRC are now doing is destroying families around the world. This may sound like an exaggeration but let us consider the following:
- They have only achieved 2,000 (according to latest stats I believe) settlements thus far
- Only 1,000 of these are in the past 12 months.
- They need another 43,000 (minimum) to make this exercise worthwhile.
Now why is that CLOS2 has been such a disaster? Is it due to the unfairness of HMRC ignoring the very basic protections of TMA1970 enquiry windows to enforce this unproven debt?
Is it perhaps because of the lie that people had ‘three years notice’ of the LC applying (a large proportion of taxpayers within the LC cohort appear not even to have received any initial LC communication)?
Is it because loans are not taxable and the concept of what is ‘fair’ in the minds of HMRC is irrelevant to the concept of applying the law?
Well yes, it is probably a mixture of all of those but, in my opinion, the most telling reason why nobody is coming forward to settle is because they simply cannot, because the money in practice does not exist in the pockets of those HMRC are attacking.
HMRC can shout, scream, threaten and abuse. They can write letters, make angry calls, even send around DMB field officers or bailiffs. It makes no difference as the money is not there. It simply does not exist.
Now HMRC have a problem as they have stated they will not make anybody bankrupt or force them to lose their main home. Well if those claims are true let’ s ask them some VERY basic questions. I am estimating the chances of an honest reply to be less than 2%.
- Will HMRC sell the ‘debt’ onto others who may then force home sales/bankruptcy?
- If HMRC state that the answer to (1) is “no”. Then what is the point of all of this as you will not receive money which doesn’t exist and therefore achieve nothing more than breaking up families due to the anguish/divorces and suicides that we now know are occurring?
The end game
So, then – what now? Well clearly HMRC have a massive problem. They need to become a faceless department before the LC is dropped otherwise certain individuals face corporate manslaughter charges. Early indications suggest that individuals would happily crowd-fund legal campaigns along those lines with the likes of Philip Hammond, Mel Stride, ‘Sir’ Jonathan, Mary Aiston, Phil Gilbert in the direct firing line. Hence off go Melvyn and Jon to jobs that hardly a single person considers them worthy. I don’t really care. All I ask for is that no more people must suffer. We are not asking for special favours, we are not asking for anything other than the law is applied as it stands.
Therefore, for the sake of humanity and loan charge victims sanity, please no retrospection, no ignoring of taxpayer protection and most of all please, for the sake of human life, no more lies. The alternative is far too dire – and you cannot say they have not been warned!
Loan charge goes global
Given the recent media tsunami on the plight of Loan charge victims, it is not a surprise that we have now also seen the emergence of a “Global Loan Charge Alliance”, more details here: globalloanchargealliance.info
And, as the saga continues, the dissenting voices globally are rising. The Tory Loan Charge scandal has been noted in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Asia. Even the United Nations have expressed their explicit concern, already mid-2018, about the UK’s move towards aggressive and contrived retrospective legislation.
So, even internationally, there’s now a recognition of the dystopian 2019 United Kingdom in general and the Loan charge poster boy in particular. Luckily, there’s also a much greater global drive now to stopping this as other countries and governments around the globe recognise the long-lasting damage of the UK government’s and HMRC’s lies are doing to the general public’s trust in government.
The consequence of course is dire: as trust erodes further, incidents of civil disobedience increase. Whether it’s the yellow vests protest in France or UK citizens choice of last resort in fighting the loan charge: bankruptcy, or worst of all – taking their own lives.
Once the trust is gone, there’s nothing left and obedient citizens will turn against their government and institutions such as HMRC. Ultimately, this is the stuff for revolutions and once you’ve got literally nothing to lose, everything becomes an upside. Many feel the flames of “RetroHell” as they refer to the Loan charge and are increasingly expressing their anger, frustration and devastation.
All of this of course, could be avoided with one fell-swoop by following the All-Party Parliamentary group’s recommendation to pause the Loan charge proceeding and establish an independent, judge-led inquiry. The now Prime Minster Boris Johnson promised something along those lines at one of the hustings in Carlisle . And, with Parliament’s recess until early September and some of the cut off reporting deadlines by the end of August, the time is NOW, RIGHT NOW, to implement this pause and review. Of course, this will require a Prime Minister who is true to his own words and a government intelligent and courageous enough to see where they have gone wrong.
Otherwise, it will be exposed as more lies. And become an international example of how governments betray their electorate. It could end very quickly or very badly. Which one is it going to be?”
Phil Manley is a tax advisor and former HMRC inspector.
He has been in charge of the implementation of APN processes.