The Littlewoods case is slowly making its way through the court system with the CJEU ruling that there is a right to the taxpayer of adequate indemnity in respect of tax incorrectly collected via a mistake of law. There are myriad claims to which this will apply, especially “Fleming” claims where they covered a significant period of time a number of years ago.
HMRC has now applied to Supreme Court’s decision for permission to appeal the decision and we expect the Supreme Court’s verdict within the next month.
HMRC appear very concerned that it will ultimately be required to pay large amounts of interest to taxpayers who have suffered as a result of HMRC applying the relevant law incorrectly. Consequently, it has announced that the Summer Finance Bill 2015 will impose a 45% corporation tax charge on compound interest. There will be no right of set off or deduction for other losses. HMRC will withhold the corporation tax from any payment of interest made. This will take effect on 21 October 2015 (although the relevant legislation will not become law until 2016 indicating that HMRC is indeed running scared).
It is understood that there are a number of parties currently working on ways to challenge the legality of the proposed legislation.
Claims already submitted
No immediate action is required, although it may be beneficial to review the basis of the claim, how it was made and what the status of it is currently.
For businesses which have received repayments due to HMRC error, it may be worthwhile reviewing the position to determine whether a claim for compound interest is appropriate and if so, to make a claim as soon as possible. We would, of course, be happy to advise on this and assist where necessary.