Weekly tax brief | 5 May 2020

Clamping down on tax crime can help pay for coronavirus recovery
George Bull
Much has been said about the importance of consensual policing during the lockdown. We are concerned that there would not be similar support for a coronavirus-recovery policy of increasing tax liabilities for honest taxpayers while tax crime costs the UK £14 billion per year. Now is the time to ensure that HMRC has the resources to tackle tax lost through illegal criminal attacks, evasion and the hidden economy.

Buy-to-let landlords should polish their crystal balls
Rachel de Souza
Tenants with cash flow problems face some difficult decisions over the coming months. Professional buy-to-let landlords will need to dust down their crystal ball so that they’re prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. 

How to beat the short-term cost of accessing your pension
Rachel de Souza
Over-55s may be supplementing their income by dipping into their pensions, but high taxes may be withheld which could come as a nasty shock. How do you get a refund of the tax overpaid, and what happens when you return to work?

Universities urge HMRC to ‘help us help the NHS’ 
Sarah Halsted & Scott Harwood
Universities have asked HMRC to support coronavirus collaborations with the NHS by relaxing certain VAT rules, but would a wider general relief for costs of fighting the coronavirus be more effective? 

How unlisted company investors can recoup their coronavirus losses
Chris Etherington
With thousands of businesses facing the prospect of insolvency over the next few months, investors in unlisted companies will be counting the cost to their hard-earned savings as the value of their shareholdings plummet. So how and when can investors best utilise their losses?

No good deed goes unpunished – tax treatment of abortive costs of ventilator production
Sheena McGuinness
It seems a cruel twist of fate to tax British manufacturers who have attempted to produce ventilators in response to the request from government only to be told that their product is no longer needed. The abortive costs with which these businesses are left to contend will be a hard pill to swallow. That said, a silver lining could be found in R&D tax credits.