Testimonies – James B.

James B. , London:

“I was originally told by tax planners that planning was legitimate. Not being from the UK, I was further told that IR35 prevented an individual from running a company and that this was the only legitimate option available.

In 2011, there was no highlighted warning anywhere from HMRC or tax planners, nor did HMRC or tax planners bring it to my attention despite numerous tax submissions, that tax planning was an activity being frowned upon or would be in years to come. The minute I became aware that Tax Planning was to be investigated retrospectively, I stopped using all schemes. I have now been paying tax via a company for the last two years, meaning I could be further subject to IR35. There is in other words, no ending to the misery.

The authorities had an obligation to abolish these schemes many years ago or alternatively bring it fully to the attention of every tax payer. This never occurred. Not once did I receive such a letter from HMRC, even when investigations were opened. I was told by the tax planners that investigations were normal. Thus everything looked to be above board.

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.

My parents are both retired and modest people. They have no form of income and I am their only child. My father has terminal cancer and I pay for his treatment. The impact of this legislation would destroy any ability for me to look after my father or my parents. Not only would it destroy my life financially but also my parents’. I cannot afford to pay and this would certainly end in bankruptcy, which benefits no one, as prospectively the government could continue to earn tax revenue from me.”

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