Philip E., Birmingham:
“Due to the uncertainty and confusion around IR35, I was convinced by a fellow colleague to go through a DOTAS registered scheme in 2007.
Having spoken with the provider of this scheme I was assured it was fully compliant with HMRC due to it being DOTAS registered, and therefore fully legal. I continued to use the scheme until a change in law in the 2011 Finance Act with regards to disguised remuneration.
In those 5 years I had received letters of enquiry for each of the Tax Returns I filed, stating that HMRC check so many returns every year to ensure everything is in order and that I would be informed of the decision in due course.
We fast forward now to 2015 some 9-10 years later, and I have received several APN’s totaling upwards of £45,000, with more possibly still to be received.
I am being given 90 days to make these payments, otherwise I will received an additional 5% penalty payment, rising to 15% if not paid within 12 months. This does not include any interest payments which may well be added. All this is being asked for based on a scheme which is yet to go to court, and the court to prove I have done anything wrong. I don’t have that amount of money available and HMRC will only give me up to 12 months’ time to pay, which is nowhere near enough time.
Therefore my only option is to engage with the HMRC debt collection department which continues to put a massive burden on me and my family. Especially when we are worried about the prospect of bankruptcy and the chance of losing our house. If this was to happen and in approximately 5 years when our case gets to course and we end up winning, we would have been through all this for nothing.
If it is proven I owe tax then I will always pay it, but to request this amount of money up front with a court decision some 5 years away, along with the fact HMRC has sat on these enquiries for almost 10 years doing nothing, despite having all the information to hand, just shows what a complete shambles this is.
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 our lives destroyed and by the time the government or HMRC realize what they are doing, it will already be too late for some.”