Disguised remuneration schemes

Loans schemes also known as disguised remuneration tax avoidance schemes have been used by some employers and individuals in order to try and avoid paying Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs). This is usually done by utilising a loan or other payment from a third-party which is unlikely to be repaid. HMRC has never approved these schemes and has always said they will not be effective for tax avoidance purposes.

A charge (known as the 2019 loan charge) applies to all loans made since 6 April 1999 if they remained outstanding on 5 April 2019. The loan charge policy package is expected to raise £3.2 billion and it has been estimated that 75% of this will come from employers, and 25% from individuals.

HMRC had strongly encouraged disguised remuneration scheme users to come forward and provide all the required information to enable them to settle their tax affairs by 5 April 2019. Anyone who provided all the information needed to HMRC by 5 April 2019, can still settle their tax affairs under the November 2017 terms. HMRC will work to agree settlement in these cases so these users will not have to report and pay the loan charge. However, the settlement must be agreed by the date set out in HMRC’s offer letter, if not the loan charge will be payable.

There are simplified payment arrangements in some cases. For example, HMRC will allow scheme users to spread their payments over 7 years if their current taxable income is less than £30,000 and over 5 years if their current taxable income is less than £50,000. This offer only applies if the taxpayer is no longer engaged in tax avoidance and took sufficient action before 5 April 2019.

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