Testimonials – Steve B

Steve B.., London

I am writing this testimonial to protest against the APN retro tax legislation of 2014 and in addition the “Tackling disguised remuneration Technical Note 16th March 2016” paper raised the March Budget 2016 which is like a constant cloud over my head since the 1st discovery notices came through my letter box requesting retrospective taxation!

I am a hard working UK contractor. I don’t lead an extravagant lifestyle, I live in a modest family home with my wife and 2 young daughters.  I drive a 7 year old car nothing fancy like my dreams.  I believe this is the case for many contractors. We are highly skilled workers who are experts in our field and work for many different clients who have specific projects.  We are not employees of these companies and receive none of the benefits and therefore take the risk that once the project is completed we have to find other assignments, no training, no redundancy, no holiday pay, no pension etc.etc..

Previous  governments brought in the IR35 which was not meant to be directed towards contractors who work in this way, however HMRC and HMG have been using IR35 to target such contractors. 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, The scheme also reduced the administrative burden such as VAT Retruns, Invoicing, CorpTax etc… simply fill in a timesheet and the scheme provider would take care of the rest. Even the Self-Assessment… tax aid by myself and the Scheme Provider….. Happy Days… until the HMRC changed the law and now retrospectively request tax and treat you like a criminal.

I now have 2 APN’s that they expect me to pay in 12 months which can’t afford and possible more to come.. I have stopped the scheme and gone LTD but still worry with new HMRC Legislation announced in the budget whether I could be retrospectively taxed.  How can a government / HMRC continue to change laws and retrospectively charge !!! 

To compound matters as an oil worker and due to low oil price and no work I was released from contractual duties and was out of work I have managed to find work away from my family home so only see my young family at weekends.  When I arrive home on a Friday you can be sure I am not going to open any brown envelopes until Monday so that HMRC do not spoil my special family weekends.

The stress and constant cloud has lead to depression and nearly a divorce.

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.

I now have a discovery assessment for the first year that I was with the scheme and am expecting more to come in the coming months for other years I was with the scheme. I have stopped using the scheme.
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?

I’m very stressed out for the future of myself and my family. 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 and like many others contractors have become disillusioned with life in the UK and may be forced to move abroad.”

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