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Finance Act 2014

Chapter 8

172.Chapter 8, sections 257S to 257SJ, explains the procedures for withdrawing or reducing SI relief, and deals with various information obligations and powers.

173.New section 257S provides that where any SI relief is to be reduced or withdrawn, that must be done by HMRC making an assessment to recover the relief.

174.New section 257SA provides that where HMRC has given a notice under section 257QS(3), this is to be treated as a decision disallowing a claim by the social enterprise.  This has the effect of allowing the social enterprise to appeal against the decision, and for the appeal then to be dealt with in accordance to the legislation dealing with appeals in Taxes Management Act 1970.

175.New section 257SB explains the time limits within which HMRC may make an assessment to recover relief, or issue a notice under section 257QS(3).

176.New section 257SC explains the circumstances in which assessments are not to be made to recover tax relief once it has been given.  The first of these is when the investor has died.  The second is when all the investments have been disposed of before the end of the qualifying period, and relief has been partially recovered under section 257R(3). Any balance of relief remaining will be recovered only if the investor subsequently fails the requirements at sections 257LF, 257LG or 257LH.

177.Where SI relief falls to be withdrawn, new section 257SD prescribes the relevant date from which interest starts to run. This date will always precede the date when the SA return is amended or the assessment withdrawing relief is made. Normally the relevant date from which interest starts to run will be 31 January next following the tax year in respect of which the assessment is made.

178.New section 257SE places an obligation on an investor to notify HMRC of certain events relating to the investor which would result in relief falling to be withdrawn or reduced. Events listed include: where there is a loan linked to the investment (section 257LD); where the investor ceases to be a qualifying investor by virtue of being an employee, partner or director (section 257LF) or of having more than a 30% interest in the enterprise (section 257LG); where there is a reciprocal arrangement of the type prohibited by section 257LH; where the shares are disposed of (section 257R); where there are put or call options (section 257RB and 257RC); or where the investor or an associate has received value (section 257Q).  The investor must make the notification within 60 days of becoming aware of it.

179.New section 257SF similarly places an obligation on a social enterprise to notify HMRC within 60 days of becoming aware of an event relating to the enterprise which would result in relief falling to be withdrawn or reduced.  Events which would trigger this obligation include the enterprise ceasing to be a qualifying enterprise by reference to the requirements included in Chapter 4 of Part 5B; providing value to the investor within section 257Q; repaying share capital to other investors within section 257QJ; or where a trade or company previously owned by an individual or group of individuals come to be owned by the social enterprise, within section 257QQ or 257QR.

180.Where HMRC has reason to believe that a notification should have been made under either section 257SE or 257SF, but no such notification has been made,    new section 257SG gives HMRC a power to require a person to provide the information that HMRC believes is reasonably required.  HMRC has to give the person at least 60 days in which to provide the information.

181.Where HMRC has reason to believe that certain prohibited arrangements exist,  new section 257SH gives HMRC power to require a person to provide the information which it may reasonably require. Again, HMRC must give the person at least 60 days in which to provide the information.  In the case of this section, the persons which HMRC may require to provide information will vary as specified, depending on which type of prohibited arrangement exists.

182.New section 257SI provides for some circumstances in which HM Revenue and Customs may disclose information to other parties, in relation to SI relief.

183.Subsection 257SI(1) permits HM Revenue and Customs to disclose to a social enterprise that SI relief has been obtained or claimed, in respect of a particular number or proportion of any investments in it.  A social enterprise may require this information, for instance, in the context of a later calculation for de minimis State aid purposes (see section 257MA above).

184.Subsection 257SI(2) permits HM Revenue and Customs to disclose information to the Regulator of Community Interest Companies for the purposes of the Regulator’s functions, or to a Minister of the Crown for the purposes of accrediting a social impact contractor.  Similar legal information gateways already exist between HM Revenue and Customs and the Financial Conduct Authority (the body responsible for the accreditation of Community Benefit Societies); and the Charities Commission.

185.Subsection 257SI(3) prohibits onward disclosure of information obtained under subsection 257SI(2), unless HM Revenue and Customs has either consented to that onward disclosure for the purposes of the Regulator’s or Minister’s functions, or the disclosure is required by an enactment Subsection 257SI(6) applies the provisions of section 19 of CRCA to any wrongful disclosure of revenue and customs information relating to a person.

186.Subsection 257SI(8) provides that HMRC’s confidentiality obligations do not prevent the disclosure of relevant information to a Minister of the Crown or his authorised delegate for the purpose of exercising functions under sections 257JD to 257JG.  Similarly, relevant information may be provided to HMRC for the purpose of exercising its functions under Part 5B.  ‘Relevant information’ is defined as information obtained by a Minister of the Crown or delegate in the course of discharging functions under new sections 257JD to 257JG.

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