TaxAdministrationMerger bill may break EU law

Merger bill may break EU law

Legislation merging the Inland Revenue and Customs risks falling foul of the European Charter on Human Rights, according to an influential parliamentary committee.

Link: Concern over Revenue’s powers after merger

The joint committee on human rights questioned the authority of the new tax body to hand over information on taxpayers to other government departments.

The committee complained there was nothing in the bill to define the criteria for circulating information on taxpayers around Whitehall, and ensure both the ‘appropriateness and proportionality’ of disclosures.

A new system of ‘pre-disclosure assessments’ has been demanded by the committee to ensure information passed on is fully justified with a suitable level of authorisation. The committee suggested judicial authority may be needed in some cases.

‘Although we broadly welcome the protection for taxpayer confidentiality in the bill, we consider there is some scope for introducing stronger safeguards to ensure the power to disclose confidential information by HMRC is not abused,’ said the report.

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