Finance Bill

Written evidence submitted by Mr Girish Patel (FB 03)

I am a pharmacist and I run a small community pharmacy in Stirchley. I have served my local community for 25 years and employ 9 members of staff.

I am contacting you with my concern with a proposal by the HMRC to have powers to demand 'accelerated payments' of tax in cases where individuals are in dispute with the HMRC in the use of registered tax arrangements before an arrangement has been heard in the tax courts.

While I accept that the Government has the right to close down tax avoidance schemes and to combat abusers, the powers that the government is proposing to give HMRC undermines the fundamental concept of our justice system that people are innocent until proven guilty. It is deeply unfair and wrong that the change will apply retrospectively and will affect everyone who is currently in dispute with the HMRC.

I believe that the proposal will have a negative impact for small to medium size business like myself who provide crucial employment for local people. It will impact on the economy and ultimately the reputation of the tax system. This proposal will stunt investment in important projects by small businesses and lead to closures and ultimately job losses.

I would like to see 3 main changes to the Finance Bill:

1. Remove the retrospective element so that Accelerated Payment Notices and Follower Notices will only apply to tax planning entered into after the Finance Bill receives Royal Assent.

2. Introduce an independent appeals process so that tax payers have the right to appeal to an independent body

3. Broaden the reasons under which tax payers can appeal a Follower Notice.

I hope you can support me on this important matter.

  June 2014

Prepared 18th June 2014