Newspaper reports have appeared about a suggestion that HMRC are establishing a special unit to take responsibility for high-net-worth individuals. The implication is that those with significant assets will be specifically targeted in the hope of increased tax collection. It is difficult to think of anything that is likely to be more damaging to wealth creation in the United Kingdom – and the creation of jobs – for which I understand there is a particular need just at the moment. Well, perhaps there is something. They could impose a special charge on foreign-domiciled people who come here bringing their wealth to create businesses and jobs in the United Kingdom. HMRC could target them and charge them lots of tax so they either leave or don’t come in the first place. No. Of course not. That would be a silly idea.
Anyway, this new initiative seems to have derived from the minutes of the Complex Personal Tax Return Team Consultation Forum that were published recently. (Um. Somebody must have told me about them. I cannot admit to being such a saddo as to read these things myself). Actually, this sounds like a good idea; a special unit of experienced inspectors dealing with complex tax returns should be good for everybody. It is likely that the relevant skills on many of the issues arising in complex cases will be more readily to hand, as they would be closer to teams with expertise on trusts, inheritance tax and so on. It may avoid a lot of misunderstandings born of inexperience.
However, these are the very claims that are already made for the Complex Personal Return Teams so why do they need a new unit? It is no surprise that considerable disquiet has been caused by the publication of this idea, but let us hope that it proves to be a good and helpful move.