The Chiswick Calendar – Bridget Osborne:
I reported a couple of weeks ago on the Loan Charge, which has left thousands of people with unexpected tax debts of hundreds of thousands of pounds and has caused stress and anxiety to the point of causing marital breakups and even suicides. There are at least 220 people in Brentford & Isleworth constituency who are affected by the Loan Charge, and I have been talking to some of them in Chiswick about the tactics used by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs to recoup the money. This government agency is ‘acting like a loan shark’ they say, employing ruthless tactics which they describe as ‘bullying’, adding quite deliberately to their anxiety over their debts, in a concentrated effort to make them pay up, with complete disregard to their mental health and well-being.
The Loan Charge All-Party Parliamentary Group identified a number of tactics used by HMRC which they described as ‘aggressive and unreasonable.’ Among them were: wholly unaffordable offers, aggressive communication, threats of bankruptcy, unreasonable delays in HMRC’s responses, inconsistencies in HMRC calculations and unreasonable contractual terms for settlement, including punitive levels of interest. All taxpayer rights are ‘surrendered’ where terms of settlement are agreed and signed under the Loan Charge legislation.
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