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CIOT And ICAEW Join Condemnation Of Section 660A Guidance

by Jason Gorringe,, London

25 November 2004

In a statement released on Tuesday, the UK's Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) expressed disappointment at the new Inland Revenue guidance on the Section 660A settlements legislation that was published last week.

The legislation in question is particularly pertinent for small husband and wife businesses, and was the subject of a recent test case.

Explaining the reasons for the CIOT's disappointment with the Revenue guidance, its president, John Beattie revealed that:

“The professional bodies have been requesting further and better guidance from the Inland Revenue on key issues for over a year. The ‘new’ guide to the settlements legislation, published last week, consists almost entirely of repackaged earlier comments and does not address the key areas of uncertainty which we have repeatedly highlighted."

He continued:

“We have read it from cover to cover, but it deals only with the black and white and not with the important grey areas, which remain just as murky as before."

The tax representative bodies announced that they have therefore issued joint guidance to their members about how to cope with this complex area.

Amongst the advice that they have offered is a recommendation that taxpayers who are potentially affected by the new rules protect themselves against the possibility of a future attack on their business structure by the Inland Revenue. This will require them to submit detailed information with their tax returns, including: copies of the partnership or company accounts and computations; a copy of the memorandum and articles of association of the company, or partnership agreement in the case of a partnership; and a summary of how the business operates, and, in particular, what is done by each of the shareholders or partners in running the business.

Chairman of the ICAEW's Tax Faculty, Mark Lee, stated on Tuesday that:

“It is a great shame that we feel compelled to recommend that this level of additional paperwork be submitted. Without suitable assurance from the Inland Revenue on key issues we believe it is important that taxpayers can obtain some comfort that back tax claims will not be made up to six years in the future. We are also disappointed that this approach is likely to militate against the ability to e-file in these types of cases."

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