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HMRC withdraws 6,000 demands for upfront tax payments

HMRC has decided to withdraw 6,000 of its controversial notices that require tax penalties to be paid upfront, the Financial Times reports.

Accelerated payment notices were introduced in 2014 as part of a crackdown on tax avoidance and give recipients 90 days to settle up.

They allow HMRC to collect money from people it deems to be using tax avoidance schemes before the outcome of a dispute has been settled.

Law firm RPC says APNs have been withdrawn due to miscalculations and it believes many more have been issued incorrectly due to the complex nature of the law.

In 2016 the number of APNs retracted by HMRC was 3,000, doubling to 6,000 in 2017.

However, despite the policy bringing in £1.3bn in disputed tax each year, the measures have been criticised for being too draconian.

RPC partner and head of the tax disputes practice Adam Craggs says: “APNs have always been controversial and these figures are going to do little to silence their critics or reassure taxpayers that HMRC is exercising its powers in a proportionate and lawful manner.

“Clearly, HMRC doesn’t always get it right, so businesses and individuals who feel they’ve been issued with an APN in error should not simply feel they have to accept it and pay up.”

HMRC says: “We have issued over 80,000 accelerated payment notices. Even where we withdraw APNs it doesn’t mean there is no tax to pay. We pursue the outstanding tax until it is paid.”


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  1. Sorry, but when HMRC is judge, jury and executioner and is effectively able to decide for itself and just take money, that is fundamentally and morally utterly wrong.

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