HMRC announces a new and final settlement opportunity for employers, employees and contractors who have used disguised remuneration schemes in the past. This allows these parties to settle their tax liability now before a new loan charge is introduced.
In order to take advantage of this “opportunity” you will need to register their with HMRC by 31 May 2018 and make a full disclosure by 30 September 2018. Meeting these deadlines will give those involved the time they need to complete the settlement before the new loan charge becomes effective on 5 April 2019.
What is a disguised remuneration scheme?
Typically, disguised remuneration schemes involve an employer paying a contribution to a third-party, usually an employee benefit trust, rather than paying an employee directly. The trust then pays the employee in the form of interest-free loans with terms that mean they will never be repaid in the recipient’s lifetime, thereby avoiding the income tax and NICs that would otherwise arise from the payments.
Who does this settlement opportunity apply to?
The taxpayers affected include small businesses employing relatively few staff, employed and self-employed contractors and highly paid individuals who have used the scheme to avoid large amounts of tax. Although the new settlement opportunity will be available to all these parties, the terms of the scheme will vary slightly for each.
This settlement opportunity applies to a wide range of disguised remuneration schemes and not just those paid through employee benefit trusts. That includes DR filtered employer-funded retirement benefits trusts and those involving contractor loan schemes.