Richard H., Chester
“Over 15 years ago I was told by a firm of accountants that the arrival of IR35 tax legislation heralded the end of the contractor LTD company. They suggested I join their scheme whereby I would become an employee and receive salary and bonus/loan income. This scheme was legal, within the law and was approved by a barrister.
I wouldn’t have to worry about IR35 any more and returns were slightly better than those from my LTD company, but not by much.
So here I am 15 years later, the reassurances and promises made by the accounting and legal professions appear to have been swept aside. HMG have more than moved the goal posts they have relocated them to another planet where retrospective taxation is the name of the game.
I am facing punitive tax demands that could go back for over a decade.
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.
HMG/HMRC are spinning tax avoidance in such a way that this now seems to have been accepted by the general public consciousness as being illegal despite there being no such ‘offence’ in law. It is not immoral or illegal to mitigate one’s tax affairs. The term ‘aggressive avoidance’ is similarly nonsensical.
If I had done something illegal surely I would be facing tax evasion charges.
The recent budget announcement (2016) has made matters worse.. However, in some respects it’s also irrelevant. If you can’t pay X then 10 times X makes no difference.
My recent offer to HMRC to settle under reasonable terms has been rejected. However the likes of Google are cut a deal that reportedly only amounts to 3% of the total owed. Another example of HMRC being weak with the strong and strong with the weak.
Unless there is an unprecedented turn around my life as a productive member of the UK Plc is almost over. The only options I see are bleak in the extreme.
This is affecting all aspects of my life, my job, my mental health, my relationships with friends and family.
I’m only human, I can’t just turn this off… While this hangs over me I will lose years of my life that I can never get back.
HMRC make a lot of claims of fairness, certainty etc, this is a nonsense. They are so disorganised and disconnected that the process I’m involved in will take many years to resolve.
Retrospective taxation is abhorrent. It is morally wrong to judge the past through the lens of today.
I read somewhere that 60,000 uk contractors are affected. That’s hundreds of thousands of lives that could be ruined..
I’m one of the lucky ones in that I’m not currently affected by another deeply offensive piece of legislation called APN. This allows HMRC to demand payment of any disputed amount before that amount has be proven to be owed. In what other dispute can one side claim payment before it has been proved that an amount is owed?. This has already forced people to sell there homes, remortgage, caused marriage breakups and mental health issues…
I feel impotent and helpless in the face of the meat grinder that is the UK tax system operated by HMRC… I have no idea where this will end.“