THE WIDE-RANGING POWERS afforded to HM Revenue & Customs have been censured by MPs in the Treasury Select Committee.
In particular, the committee echoed the acute concern held by practitioners over the possibility of mistakes occurring in debt recovery, especially given the department’s history of errors.
In March’s Budget, the chancellor proposed “modern powers” allowing the taxman to recover tax directly from debtors’ bank and building society accounts, including ISAs.
The Budget document showed the powers will focus on those owing at least £1,000 and have been “contacted multiple times” by HMRC to pay. It added “a single aggregate of £5,000 will be left across all accounts, including ISAs, after the debt is recovered”.
“This policy is highly dependent on HMRC’s ability accurately to determine which taxpayers owe money and what amounts they owe, an ability not always demonstrated in the past,” said committee chairman Andrew Tyrie (pictured).
“Incorrectly collecting money will result in serious detriment to taxpayers.”
The legality of the powers is in doubt, too with committee member and Conservative MP Mark Garnier accusing HMRC of acting as “judge and jury”.
“Giving HMRC this power without some form of prior independent oversight – for example by a new ombudsman or tribunal, or through the courts – would be wholly unacceptable,” the committee said in its report.
The authentication service citizens will need to access before entering their digital tax account is close to going live
HMRC is under fire for allegedly obtaining warrants unlawfully for the detainment of four former KPMG partners
Report by the work and pensions select committee fears taxpayers losing retirement savings because of ‘unstable master trusts’
The independent office looks to hear from taxpayers on how it can further simplify the UK's contrived tax system