HMRC Spotlight 42 Contractor loan schemes: misleading advertising
Released 14 February 2018
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled against misleading advertising of contractor loan schemes by scheme promoter, Williams Gordon.
The ruling follows a complaint by HMRC that claims by Williams Gordon that their contractor loan scheme enabled individuals to “take home up to 92% of your pay” and be “fully compliant with the necessary HMRC legislation and with all current IR35 policies” were misleading. HMRC’s understanding of the scheme is that an umbrella company is used to supply contractor services to the end-client paying the contractor at National Living wage limits but below limits for tax and National Insurance, with the balance being paid to the contractor in the form of a non-repayable loan. HMRC’s view is that loans like this are no different to normal income and should be taxed in the same way as any other employment income (Spotlight 33). The ASA agreed with HMRC and ruled that the claims made by Williams Gordon are misleading and must be withdrawn.