Market leading insight for tax experts
View online issue

Tyrie calls for ‘fairness’ on film schemes

printer Mail

According to the Financial Times, Andrew Tyrie, chair of the Treasury select committee, has written to the chancellor of the exchequer expressing concern over the ‘very severe financial distress’ inflicted on investors in film tax schemes, following the Court of Appeal judgment in Eclipse Film Partners No 35 LLP v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2015] EWCA Civ 95.

Tyrie acknowledges in the letter that if a tax avoidance scheme is found by the courts to be illegal, ‘investors in the scheme have no option but to repay the tax that they have avoided’. However, he continues: ‘HMRC needs to treat people fairly, including investors in what are now considered to be tax avoidance schemes, and to be transparent and timely in their approach.’

A number of individuals had made representations to Tyrie, ‘expressing concern that the outcomes are not always fair nor what anyone could have expected’. These schemes ‘were not considered to be aggressive avoidance but just a deferral of tax, and they were often marketed as routine tax management’.

Tyrie also asked the chancellor what was being done ‘to ensure that any egregious schemes are not causing other less offensive tax planning arrangements to be caught up in the very long running inquiries’.

The Financial Times contrasts this ‘rare softening of the political rhetoric about tax avoidance’ with the approach taken by the public accounts committee under the chairmanship of Margaret Hodge.