HMRC powers worrying for taxpayers
By Tom Carnegie, 6 Dec 17
Concern has been raised about the lack of effective safeguards in place for taxpayers, as HM Revenue and Customs continues to develop broader powers to seek payments.
A report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies says, over the last three years, HMRC has been given additional powers that have generated significant comment and debate.
These powers have enabled HMRC to seek payment of tax that is disputed by taxpayers prior to its resolution, to require taxpayers to follow judicial decisions or risk significant penalties if they continue to dispute the amount of tax due, and to extract money from taxpayers’ bank accounts to pay outstanding amounts of tax.
The report raises concern over these powers, saying an insufficient focus means they can be used beyond their original purpose.
“At the same time, some of the powers carry the very real risk of effectively denying access to justice for taxpayers,” the report says.
George Bull, senior tax partner at RSM, said “as taxpayers we all want HMRC to be efficient, effective and civil in the way the correct amount of tax is calculated”.
“Unfortunately, as we are all customers now, it is disturbing to see how far HMRC is prepared to go to make more demands on its customers,” Bull says.
The report says the lack of safeguards specifically applies to 10 important areas addressed over the following slides.