Jim Harra defends HMRC's loan charge fraud press release
Jim Harra, chief executive and permanent secretary of HM Revenue, has defended the HMRC's recent press release on loan charge fraud arrests, after Sir Edward Davey, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group, made claims it was misleading.
In a letter addressed to Sir Edward Davey, Mr Harra strongly rejected the Loan Charge All Party Parliamentary Group (the APPG) assertions that HMRC’s recent press release is misleading.
"The opening sentence of that press release states unequivocally that five people were arrested “on suspicion of fraud in connection with promoting arrangements designed to get around paying the loan charge”. The press release does not say, or imply, that users of disguised remuneration schemes have committed fraud," Mr Harra argued.
The APPG argued that HMRC's press release "misrepresented arrests as being action against promotion of schemes now subject to the Loan Charge, when they have not been."
However, Mr Harra disagreed.
"Both the APPG and the recent independent loan charge review have urged HMRC to take action against those who promote schemes that claim to get around the loan charge, and our press release shows we are doing exactly that.
"I am disappointed that, instead of welcoming the action we have taken, the APPG has chosen to criticise us by misrepresenting what we have said."
Mr Harra also urged Sir Davey to disclose with the HMRC any information the APPG may have about schemes that claim to get around the loan charge.
"You also state that you have information about several schemes that claim to get around the loan charge. I would urge you to share that information with us so that we can continue to take action against those who seek to exploit the very people the APPG was formed to protect," he said.
In late February, the HMRC said four men and one woman have been arrested on suspicion of fraud in connection with promoting arrangements designed to get around paying the loan charge.
“Those that enable, promote or facilitate tax fraud are firmly in our sights and we currently have more than 200 such suspected enablers under criminal investigation.
“We are keen to protect the public from those who devise and market fraudulent schemes which at best do not work and at worse mean that people could end up being involved in fraud," the HMRC said at the time.