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Tax off icials call for resumption of talks

NEWS - Inland Revenue calls for Joint Tax Committee to rejoin CIS scheme forum

OFFICIALS at the Inland Revenue have asked the Joint Tax Committee to reconsider its decision to pull out of talks on the controversial new CIS tax scheme.

The JTC made the move last week at a meeting of the Construction Industry Reform Implementation Panel following the Revenue's decision to press on with its April 2006 start date for the scheme.

The JTC fears that lack of readiness could spell payment chaos for the construction industry.

A Revenue spokesman ? who described the meeting as 'very constructive' ? said: 'We are naturally disappointed that the JTC has decided to formally withdraw from this particular forum.

'Continued dialogue is the best way of identifying mutually acceptable solutions to problems and we have asked it to reconsider its decision.' The JTC and the Construction Confederation's withdrawal leaves the National Specialist Contractors' Council, the Electrical Contractors Association and the Federation of Small Businesses in the talks, although the Revenue is looking to bring in new members of CIRIP The Revenue is about to embark on another round of consultation with software houses to check on the readiness of the technology and will also launch a campaign to raise awareness among all firms registered for CIS.

It said: 'About 20 software developers have told us they are proposing to offer products in time for use next April. We recognise that although challenging, the April 2006 timetable for delivery is achievable.' But one construction tax specialist, who has attended the talks, said: 'What they have to do is face up to the fact that they should delay next April's deadline. They are bat tling on but need to face reality.' It is understood that the JTC will not return to the talks, although sources said that representatives could still meet the Revenue on an informal basis.