Tax Avoidance

Treasury written question – answered on 16th November 2018.

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Photo of Janet Daby Janet Daby Labour, Lewisham East

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the 2019 Loan Charge on individuals that had made financial plans on the basis of previous arrangements; and what support he is able to provide to those individuals.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

The charge on disguised remuneration (DR) loans is targeted at artificial tax avoidance schemes where earnings were paid in the form of loans, often made by an offshore third party. These loans are not repaid in practice and so are no different to ordinary income and are, and always have been, taxable.

It is unfair to ordinary taxpayers to let anybody continue to benefit from contrived tax avoidance of this sort, and that is why this government has taken action to ensure that everybody pays the taxes they owe. The charge, announced at Budget 2016, will arise on 5 April 2019. By then affected users will have had three years to organise their financial affairs.

The Government recognises the charge on DR loans will have a significant impact on some individuals who have used DR schemes, particularly those who used them to avoid the most tax.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are working to help people put things right. HMRC have published a simplified process for DR scheme users to spread payment of the tax they owe over 5 years if their current income is less than £50,000, and they are no longer in avoidance. Those with higher incomes or who need to pay over a longer period can also request extended payment periods, which will be tailored to individual circumstances. Anyone who is worried about being able to pay what they owe should contact HMRC as soon as possible.

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