TaxPersonal TaxNew powers for Customs and Revenue

New powers for Customs and Revenue

A proposal granting the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise powers to pass on confidential information about taxpayers to law enforcers has been confirmed by the government.

The government claims the measures, which are part of the new Criminal Justice and Police Bill published on Friday, will help the police fight crime more effectively.

Officials from the two departments will have a statutory obligation to disclose information to the police and other law enforcers to aid their criminal investigations. Measures in the Bill to make search operations more effective will also apply to the both departments’ own criminal investigations.

The Bill also includes plans to allow investigators to remove items from premises being searched in order to examine them elsewhere to determine which can be seized as evidence.

In December, the ICAEW’s Tax Faculty insisted the Bill would damage the Revenue’s obligation of taxpayer confidentiality, which underpins the tax system and provides the basis for tax compliance.

Chairman of the Tax Faculty’s Technical Committee, Robert Maas, said the measures would mean taxpayers would no longer trust the Revenue and those with something to hide would be discouraged from declaring all income and gains.

Links

Client fears confirmed

ICAEW critical of new Revenue powers

Fraud crackdown sparks privacy fears

the Cabinet Office PIU Report, “Recovering the Proceeds of Crime

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