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Loan Charge 2019: Sir Amyas Morse Review

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:29 pm on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden 1:29 pm, 19th March 2020

I am talking about how we got to that position. I will come on to talk about the financial status of these people, but my hon. Friend is right: these are not rich people.

HMRC, which has claimed that this is clear law, lost the Dextra Accessories Ltd and Sempra Metals Ltd cases in 2002 and 2008 respectively, when the courts specifically rejected the idea that the loans could be subject to income tax. HMRC then lost a case in 2012 and again in 2014, demonstrating that the 2011 legislation had not clarified the law to the satisfaction of the courts. That is a key point—it was not a question of it not being to our satisfaction or our constituents’ satisfaction, but it was not to the satisfaction of the courts. The fact that HMRC lost twice and then won twice tells us that even experienced, highly informed judges spending a great deal of time studying these cases found it a difficult issue to resolve.