As is always the case with government initiatives, the fantastic new measures are always rolled out with a fanfare and then behind the scenes, HMRC are tasked with ensuring the new system isn’t abused. As such, I’m well aware that HMRC are in a somewhat invidious position.
Equally, there are always some who will take advantage of any new situation to grab an unfair share of the government handout, so HMRC play a valuable role in maintaining fairness, which is a principle most of us subscribe to.
Sadly, the other inevitability is that HMRC will not apply their policing with an even hand, so some innocent taxpayers will always end up being hauled over the coals when they have done nothing wrong. Further, there will be those that make innocent mistakes in dealing with fiendishly complicated new legislation, who are given a rough ride by HMRC.
It is very early days, but it seems that HMRC’s approach to reviewing Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant claims is a classic example of the above. Their intervention letters to employers appear to have been rushed out without a great deal of scrutiny and before the systems for handling responses have been put in place. Therefore, a huge amount of unnecessary anxiety is likely to be caused by these letters, which I understand are being sent out in significant numbers right now.
The message I want readers to take away from this short article is not to worry – the well represented employer should have nothing to fear because their accountant/tax adviser will be able to clear up HMRC’s misapprehensions.
Even better, if you are a Dafferns client and you subscribe to our tax investigation insurance cover, our fees in representing you will be paid by the insurer. Please click here to find out more about tax fee protection.
If you have any questions or need advice on the above, please contact Brian Jukes.