Allies of Boris Johnson are pressurising the UK prime minister to deliver on promises to suspend the loan charge, as key deadlines loom for tens of thousands facing the controversial tax.
The charge requires up to 50,000 people who used loan-based avoidance schemes to pay tax on up to 20 years of income in one year. Those who did not settle their debts with HM Revenue & Customs before April 5 will be forced to pay the charge by 31 January 2020, while those who met the April deadline have until August 31 to complete the process or they will face the loan charge.
The policy has attracted criticism from tax and accounting bodies, and more than 200 MPs, peers and lawyers for its erosion of statutory taxpayer protections and the impact it is having on thousands of people. A number of suicides have been reported in connection with the tax.
At a hustings during the Conservative leadership contest, Mr Johnson appeared to commit to amending the policy, saying “it needs a proper independent review”. And while a backbencher, Mr Johnson was one of 50 Conservative MPs who signed a letter to the then chancellor, Philip Hammond, urging him to announce an immediate delay to the loan charge.
The letter was written by Ross Thomson, vice-chair of the loan charge all-party parliamentary group, who was Mr Johnson’s chief campaign organiser in Scotland during his leadership bid.