Jesse Norman, the Treasury’s financial secretary, made an appearance to the Lords Economic Affairs Committee and proposed the use of an evidence-based approach for future policies.

He mentioned that he was aware of the contents in the committee’s report – “The Powers of HRMC: Treating Taxpayers Fairly” – that was published in December 2018. Mr. Norman remarked that he has gone through all the testimonies from the report.

When a claim was put forward that DR (Disguised Remuneration) schemes were not used by the public employers to pay their contractors, Mr. Norman said that he would like to be corrected on this account.

The minister revealed that he was open to receive information that public bodies used DR schemes and made a request, asking to receive any similar piece of information.

On Friday, MPs from the Loan Charge APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group) revealed that they have already provided Jesse Norman with 820 submissions of individuals that reflect the devastation caused by the loan charge. They requested him to assess reality and how this policy has affected lives.

Mr. Norman conveyed to the committee that to become more involved with the loan charge, he met people from the Loan Charge APPG. The minister said the following.

“It is part of the function of HMRC to preserve general taxpayers’ interest against specific lobbies trying to erode it, and that is part of what may be happening here.”

However, Keith Gordon QC used Twitter to indicate that the rights of the taxpayers are being undermined by the HMRC. He loaned support to the new commitment from HMT in which loan charge will not be applied to a tax year that made fully disclosed information as a basis for closing an enquiry. He agreed that this assessment was fair, and he expressed hope that authorities can define ‘full disclosure’ accurately.

Mr. Gordon suggested that all the past cases should be reviewed wherein the HMRC did not open an enquiry and did not attempt to address the arrangements. Since years in those cases are closed; hence, they can be used to reverse the loan charge for these cases.

The QC explained to deal with the rest, HMRC has undertaken a few steps to address the arrangements by using a timely discovery assessment or an enquiry.