Unfortunately, one more death has occurred due to the Loan Charge 2019. Recently, a contractor who was affected by the Loan Charge committed suicide. This means that the reform has now led seven people to kill themselves.
According to MPs from the Loan Charge APPG, the incident happened on Saturday night. The MPs have referred the news as “tragic”, “avoidable”, and “appalling.”
Two weeks back, Sajid Javid, the chancellor, had been notified that more people are likely to commit suicide as the consequence of the tax reform and the approach applied by the HMRC.
Blanche Zaphe, a volunteer of LCAG, emphasized the risk of life to Mr. Javid. She explained that as a volunteer on the helpdesk, she has come in contact with a lot of people who were on the verge of mental breakdown. Last year, she was part of the group who met with the taxman and showed 100 impact statements to make them realise that people were going to commit suicides. As a result, there are already six suicides that can be directly attributed to the Loan Charge. Still, there are many people who are at risk.
The Loan Charge APPG stressed that the fact that she directly attributed those suicides to Loan Charge is important. The MPs criticised the commentators and journals who stated that a single or multiple suicides were “allegedly linked to the Loan Charge”. Instead, they ought to be more transparent. For instance, one of the suicide letters mentioned the Loan Charge as the reason which drove the victim to take his life with his own hand.
In another instance, the family provided evidence that the HMRC’s demonisation made their relative commit suicide. The MPs stated that:
“The way the Treasury and HMRC continually (even, unacceptably in the introduction to the Terms of Reference…[of the ongoing Loan Charge Review]) claim that people entered into these schemes as a form of deliberate ‘aggressive tax avoidance’ is simply not supported by the evidence.”
In Sir Amyas’ meeting, the APPG directed him to introspect the reason why Sir John Thompson – the CEO of HMRC – and the ministers ignored the suicide risks that were posed by tax reform even when they were seen as serious. Instead, they were more interested in their efforts to convince MPs for supporting these policies.