HM Revenue and Customs has announced that Accelerated Payment Notices (APN) will be sent to tax scheme users this August, continuing up until April 2016, an article on Contractor UK reports.
The 20-month endeavour will see notices sent out to 65,000 cases, which will include 16,000 contractors who have used offshore intermediaries and 6,300 Employment Benefit Trust users. These are cases which are currently under investigation, meaning they will have already received a notification that their tax affairs are being examined.
The notices will request receivers to pay any disputed tax upfront, within a period of 90 days. They will receive advanced warning of this two weeks beforehand, in a letter stating that an APN is imminent.
Critics of the scheme have said that APN enables retrospective taxation, because some investments in schemes were made by individuals up to ten years ago. Some have even called for an independent appeal process.
Recipients can only appeal the decision if a fault has been made by the HMRC.
However, the government defends the decision, stating that the legislation does not change fundamental tax rules or liability. It has also announced that recipients can only appeal the decision if a fault has been made by the HMRC.
With the bill being passed, legal and tax firms have now changed their approach from requesting amendments to advising taxpayers of what to do when they receive an APN. Contractor UK warns that although new tax investigation bodies have now emerged, it is not advisable to seek guidance from them, as they are often set up by those who sold the schemes in the first place.
APN recipients should instead seek advice from firms with a record in dealing with tax investigations, and that are regulated by a professional body, the article concludes.