Tax advisers call for wider debate on HMRC powers

Tax advisers and opposition MPs believe safeguards for human rights under the
finance bill are still inadequate despite attempts to amend the bill this month,
fearing sweeping new powers for tax inspectors to inspect business premises and
records could be used in a draconian way against businesses.

Financial Times reports Jane Kennedy, financial secretary to the
Treasury, told MPs in a committee debate in the House of Commons the legislation
giving HM Revenue &
(HMRC) new powers was ‘line with other OECD countries’ and random
checks were a recognised part of the Revenue’s activities.

David Furst,
Institute of
Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
(ICAEW) president, has warned
that individual officers could use the new powers ‘in a way which is
inappropriate and un¬acceptable’.

John Whiting of the
Chartered Institute of
said the HMRC’s powers to gain access to premises could be compared
with an old advertising slogan for Martini: ‘Any time, any place, anywhere’,
saying the powers, although appropriate for tracking down fraudsters, were too

Further reading:

Government rejects efforts to derail new powers for
Revenue staff

the Financial Times story

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