Blow to Revenue outsourcing plans
Plans to privatise a key part of tax collection - the process of distraint - have come under fire in a Commons motion.
Four Labour MPs have put down a motion which voices ‘concern’ over the decision of the Inland Revenue to outsource the legal process allowing private possessions to be seized to settle a debt.
The MPs claimed that at present Inland Revenue officers can advise taxpayers on their rights ‘and can negotiate time to pay even at the final point of distraint’. This is confirmed in a Revenue press release, explaining the process of distraint. It reads:
‘You can pay at any stage during the distraint process and we will stop it, but once we have started you may have to pay all the costs which we have incurred. If your possessions have been removed you will have to arrange for their return.’
A distraint order is carried out by a representative of the Revenue, usually accompanied by a bailiff.