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Yesterday, an obstinate and frustrated Mel Stride pinned the blame on contractors that only due to their own misgivings; HMRC has begun collecting tax for the previous two decades.

The MP highlighted multiple reasons on why the taxman did not pursue the DR (disguised remuneration) scheme users 20 years ago; one of them is the taxpayers’ own actions.

Mr. Stride accused the taxpayers of misrepresenting information on the self-assessment forms, some even justified incorrectly that their schemes were working.

The Tory MP Laurence Robertson countered with the question: “If this tax was due then, why did HMRC not obtain that tax then?” Earlier, the department staff admitted that they were unable to effectively inform the taxpayers before 2004—the initial six years covered by the tax.

Mr. Stride, on the other hand, was adamant that the government has been transparent for a long time and stressed repeatedly that best course of action is to speak with HMRC. He further emphasized that “the tax has always been due.”

The LCAG campaigners were not happy with Mr. Stride’s statements and asked why a new law was necessary for the tax collection if the tax has always been due? The MP-group lambasted Mel Stride for misleading answers and were clearly disappointed with his attitude. They believe that the loan charge scandal is heavily affected by repeated attempts of misinforming the public.

Jolie Lopez MP was concerned that those who agree to settle with HMRC may lose the chance for a future review if the policy gets changed in the future.

Mr. Stride remained defiant and sounded displeased when he replied: “Our policy is our policy, and we’re not going to change our policy.”

Christine Jardine MP asked whether a delay, pause, or an independent loan charge review is expected but the minister refused these possibilities.

On a similar note, Jo Johnson MP called for suspending the IR35 April 2020 reforms and the loan charge at the same time—a miffed Mr. Stride refused it instantly.

The minister added that there was nothing “retrospective” about the loan charge and the tax collection by HMRC was built on a “measured, proportionate and sympathetic approach”. Mr. Stride did not acknowledge the Loan Charge APPG’s reports regarding suicides that were forced by the loan charge. Additionally, he seemed to ignore concerns regarding the CEST’s outcomes to always result in ‘inside IR35’ assessment.

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