NIC: Accelerated Payments will follow NIC Bill

HMRC has issued a series of policy documents in respect of accelerated payments, follower notices and high risk promoters as regards national insurance contributions. In all cases, equivalent regimes to those now in place for direct taxes are included in the National Insurance Contributions Bill and will come into effect two months after the Bill receives Royal Assent.

A brief summary of the provisions is provided below.

Accelerated payments

Legislation will enable HMRC to issue accelerated payment notices where there is an open NIC dispute, or the matter is under appeal, where the person has claimed an NIC advantage under arrangements disclosed under DOTAS, countered under the GAAR or where a ‘follower’ notice has been issued.

As with direct taxes, the taxpayer will then have to pay the disputed NICs within 90 days, or a further 30 days if later where the taxpayer requests HMRC to reconsider the amount in the demand. If the NICs are not paid within this timeframe, penalties will apply.

Follower notices

Follower notices will be able to be sent to persons who have implemented NIC avoidance schemes where a similar avoidance case has been decided in HMRC’s favour. HMRC will set out why they believe the judicial decision applies to the current arrangements, and that they should be settled accordingly. The taxpayer will have 90 days in which to comply or up to a further 30 days if they ask HMRC to reconsider the follower notice. A penalty will be charged if the taxpayer decides not to settle but cannot show that their own case is materially different from that specified in the follower notice. If the decision is taken not to settle, HMRC will issue an accelerated payment notice for the NIC in dispute. The disputed NICs will only then be repaid by HMRC if the person ultimately wins their case, in which case the NICs will be repaid with interest

Monitored Promoters

Again, mirror provisions will apply to promoters of NIC avoidance scheme, as apply in the case of direct tax. These new provisions will allow HMRC to issue conduct notices to promoters. If the terms of these notices are breached, HMRC will then publicly name the promoter, who will then be obliged to notify their clients and intermediaries and provide them with their reference number. Users of that promoter’s arrangements will then need to include that reference number on their tax returns; if they do not, any tax and NIC lost as a result can be recovered under a 20 year extended assessment period.