Bereaved families of loan charge suicides are still pursued by HMRC for the sums owed
We were surprised to learn that HMRC continues to pursue bereaved families of loan charge suicides for the monies owed by their now deceased relative. This is shocking, even to us as long-time campaigners against HMRC’s abhorrent Loan Charge policy. These families have already lost everything and yet HMRC’s inhumane treatment continues. How have we found ourselves in a situation where a tax policy is linked to one suicide, let alone TEN, and yet the government are doing nothing about it except chasing up the bereaved for (disputed) sums owed to them.
Each suicide linked to the loan charge has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and they have so far found no fault with HMRC. Incredibly the IOPC has not contacted the bereaved families for any input, perhaps because the IOPC remit does not cover the very clear link between the suicides and the loan charge. This is awful and begs the question of – what exactly is the point of their investigations?
According to Sammy Wilson MP:
“the IOPC decided simply to refer a few cases back to HMRC for them to deal with and in even fewer cases, to carry out ‘internal investigations’. In other words HMRC have investigated themselves. That means our system for investigating such suicides, linked to a government policy, is both useless and actually negligent.“
The fundamental problem with the loan charge
In case you aren’t familiar with the loan charge, it’s a horrific HMRC policy which makes individuals liable for huge life-changing (often 6-figure) sums owed to HMRC often due to the mis-selling of schemes. You would think the brains behind the schemes and those promoting the schemes would be held accountable, but no, in this case it is the innocent who are doggedly pursued for debts they knew nothing about.
In Sammy’s words
“It’s this obvious injustice that is also behind the desperation and anger so many face, knowing that they acted in good faith and yet, unlike those who sought to exploit tens of thousands of workers, are being demonised as well as bankrupted.”
Who should be holding HMRC to account?
The impact of the loan charge is barbaric, and we can’t understand why more people do not seem shocked by it. Fortunately there is a very active group of 255 MPs, the Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness APPG, who do care and are fighting for justice. Sammy Wilson MP is co-chair of this group, and we have quoted some words from his latest article published by our friends at ContractorUK.
We recently posted about this on LinkedIn, where there was a discussion about how much autonomy HMRC has and who they are accountable to. There is a general feeling that although HMRC are answerable to parliament (and ultimately all us voters) they are untouchable in practice, getting away with being incompetent and above the law.