Weekly Tax Brief | 23 November 2021

HMRC’s aged IT systems put taxpayer data at risk
George Bull
HMRC is to be commended for its creative use of data to provide support to many employees and businesses during the height of the pandemic. The sheer quantity of data available to HMRC raises two significant concerns. First, how safe is that data in HMRC’s hands?  Second, how effective is HMRC in linking data to taxpayers so that the correct amount of tax is collected efficiently and effectively, in accordance with HMRC’s values of professionalism, integrity, respect and innovation?

Are MPs misusing personal service companies?
Rachel De Souza
MPs have been criticised for the fact that many of them have second jobs. More recently, it has been reported that some MPs are using a personal service company (PSC) to dodge paying tax on those jobs. So, what’s going on?

Does HMRC need to change its approach to CJRS compliance?
Susan Ball
Now that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has closed, many people expected HMRC would increase its compliance activity. Last year HMRC told the Public Accounts Committee that it estimated that up to £7bn of furlough money had been claimed either in error or fraudulently. Now HMRC chief, Jim Harra, went on record to state that the government now expects to recoup just £2.3bn over the next 18 months. Digging into the detail, we find that HMRC could make it easier for employers to repay CJRS which they have claimed in error.

Court of Appeal: gig-economy businesses must look at bigger picture when assessing worker status
Carolyn Brown
A recent Court of Appeal case has highlighted the lack of clarity around workers’ rights in the gig economy. This is a reminder to large companies that rely on casual workers that there needs to be clarity about the worker’s employment status.