HMRC boss accused of presiding over misinformation campaign

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The Loan Charge APPG has accused the boss of HMRC of presiding over a misinformation campaign regarding the loan charge. This campaign could have contributed to the failure of MPs to gain a delay or review of the loan charge.

APPG says that Sir John Thompson, the HMRC CEO, was sent a letter in which there are six areas in which “out of context” information was given about the loan charge.

MPs on the cross party group say that they are increasingly concerned about the “accuracy and honesty” of statements released by the Treasury and HMRC concerning the loan charge.

The MPs also said that they had written on several occasions to Mel Stride of the Treasury to obtain details of how many criminal convictions HMRC had won against loan scheme promoters but had never receive a response.

The APPG claims that the truth is that there have been none. APPG said: “HMRC and Treasury Ministers are consistently issuing misleading [loan charge] information … [and] in many cases it seems clear deliberately so, to give a false impression regarding the policy, it’s legality and impact.”

HMRC recently released a statement in which it claimed to have won a £40 million victory over the promoters of tax avoidance schemes. However, according to dispute specialists WTT Consulting this is a misleading statement. WTT Consulting said: “What HMRC has won is a case that the scheme should have been disclosed. That is a very long way from going to a tribunal over the substance of the arrangement and proving it is, or is not avoidance.”