Concern over Revenue’s powers after merger

Link: HMRC consultation announced

The ACCA has called for a reduction in Customs’ powers, which include searches of premises and people, seizure of documents and goods, and power of arrest.

It argues that because some of the tougher areas of Customs’ work, such as tackling drug smuggling, are being transferred to the new Serious Organised Crime Agency, the retention of its powers are not justifiable.

The ACCA’s Chas Roy-Chowdhury told the Financial Times that: ‘Taxpayers do not want the draconian powers of Customs & Excise, which are stronger than the police in some cases, to prevail.’

To date, the Treasury has ‘ring-fenced’ the powers of Revenue and Customs, so they can only be used for the purposes for which they were originally intended. However, it is feared that a review of the tax inspectors’ powers could lead to a blurring of the two agencies’ powers.

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