31 August 2017 by Hera Lorandos

Augean says HMRC assessment ‘without merit’

Hazardous waste treatment company, Augean, is in discussions with HMRC over whether it has paid enough landfill tax in relation to its treatment and disposal of hazardous waste.

Augean was notified on 25 August of an assessment on a subsidiary of the Group by HMRC for landfill tax of £1.9m with interest of £0.2m for the three months ended 31 August 2013.

In February, the HMRC revealed that it had targeted 78 landfill site operators since April 2015 – with 28 of these coming in the previous 12 months.

In a statement on the company’s website, Augean said that it is “very confident that the group has met its obligations in respect of landfill tax, consistent with the law and official guidance at the time”.

Adding that the assessment is “without merit”, the company explained that it will appeal this assessment and any other assessments through the tax tribunal system if appropriate.

Augean added that it believed that the notice had been issued “to protect HMRC against that period falling out of time” as there is a four year look back for landfill tax cases.

Landfill tax regulations

On the 21 March, the company released a preliminary announcement explaining that landfill tax regulations are “not totally prescriptive on the tax treatment of the many alternate types of waste received by the group. This could lead to differences in opinion on the treatment and the applicable rate of landfill tax”.

In light of this risk, Augean explained that it has taken extensive legal and other advice over several years.

But Augean noted that if HMRC was to pursue the assessments for this and one other subsidiary the “total amount that could potentially be claimed could be very large”.

Stakeholders

Davies

Chief executive of Augean, Dr Stewart Davies, who also serves as chairman of the ESA

The statement also reported that Augean will work with stakeholders in the sector about the broader adverse implications for the continued and necessary proper treatment of hazardous waste.

When contacted by letsrecycle.com, a spokeswoman for the chief executive of Augean, Dr Stewart Davies, said that the company had no further comments on the situation beyond the statement.

A spokesperson for HMRC said they could not comment on the case.

Lawyer

In the same announcement about the landfill tax situation, Augean has also announced that environmental lawyer, Andrew Bryce, has agreed to re-join Augean’s board.

The company said: “Given the HMRC assessment and Andrew’s extensive experience of Augean and environmental law, the Board proposes to appoint Andrew to the Board as Non-Executive Director as soon as practicable subject to the completion of the necessary regulatory due diligence by N+1 Singer.”

In February, the HMRC revealed that it had targeted 78 landfill site operators since April 2015 – with 28 of these coming in the previous 12 months. Over the past five years, HMRC have issued 51 landfill tax assessments have been issued, totaling £94.3 million (letsrecycle.com story).


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