Despite repeated warnings that HMRC must take action to avoid history repeating itself, tragically we have learnt of a tenth suicide linked with their Draconian loan charge policy. HMRC’s chief executive Jim Harra revealed the shocking news as a side point in a letter sent to the Treasury Committee which stated: “HMRC has made ten referrals to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)…” Harra’s letter went on to say “HMRC is taking forward organisational learning from concluded investigations and is committed to learning and making improvements so we avoid creating undue stress and, wherever possible, we identify vulnerable taxpayers and give them the extra help they need.”
There is so much wrong with both the loan charge policy itself and more worryingly HMRC’s dogged refusal to be held properly accountable for the widespread devastation they have caused. Very sadly we have long been aware that people have taken their own life due to the pressure of the Loan Charge, and that many affected currently feel similar desperation. Evidence of the devastating reality of the disastrous Loan Charge policy has been consistently submitted to HMRC, HM Treasury and various Financial Secretary’s over the years, yet it seems to fall on deaf ears.
This is tragic. The government has failed these people and their families on an industrial scale. It’s abhorrent that HMRC continues to hound thousands of other temps, freelancers and contractors for tax under the Loan Charge, without any regard for the devastation being caused.
The government has a lot to answer for. HMRC has flouted its own rules by holding the individual responsible for unknowingly working through tax avoidance schemes – this is despite the agency legislation, which would see agencies liable for tax avoidance.
Our founder, Julia Kermode said: “The Loan Charge is a conscious decision from HMRC to circumvent the regulations it created, to pursue individuals rather than businesses. We’re not just talking about a few isolated incidents, either. This is a deliberate move from HMRC to aggressively chase tens of thousands of people for sums that often amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“I can’t comprehend it. The news of suicides seems to fall on deaf ears, but how is it actually possible for this to happen in a civilised society? It is a truly appalling situation, yet the government ploughs on with its head buried in the sand. A resolution must be agreed to prevent any more needless losses.”