The industry as a whole is still digesting the BN66 ruling which was handed down at the High Court last week. Mr Justice Parker ruled that HMRC could retrospectively claim tax back as far as 1987.
Speaking to Contractor UK, Chartered Institute of Taxation’s John Whiting, said: “ think all tax practitioners will worry a bit about this judgement if it is seen as opening the door to retrospection. [This judgement is] of concern to all because tax systems should aim to give certainty. Retrospection is inherently unfair, creates uncertainty and risks damaging trust in the system.”
Meanwhile Simon Dolan from SJD Accountancy placed doubts on Mr Justice Parker’s claims that HMRC would be considering an individual’s financial position before making the decision to pursue tax from them.
Dolan stated: “Despite the judge’s warm words about the Revenue’s sympathetic approach to taxpayers suffering financial hardship, I’m sure that going forward the taxman will have no hesitation in approaching them for the tax owed. This is obviously a disappointing result for lots of contractors who have been caught out by the promises of the scheme provider, resulting in uncertainty and worse for many of the provider’s customers.”
He continued: “What will happen now is that the tax demands will now become payable, up to the point that an appeal to yesterday’s ruling overturns them [But] this is not taxpayers falling upon hard times, rather HMRC will see it as taxpayers choosing to get involved in a complex, anti-avoidance offshore scheme that, for some, saved hundreds of thousands of pounds”.