Government – Revenue merger plans vilified

Government - Revenue merger plans vilified

The government's plans to merge the Inland Revenue and the Contributions Agency has drawn fresh fire from the accountancy profession concerned about the department's combined powers.

A survey by Manchester-based firm Latham Crossley & Davis revealed that the prospect of increased powers for the Revenue, following the integration, had raised alarm among accountants.

The firm said businesses and their advisers in the North-West feared that the Revenue would gain the Contributions Agency’s power of entering the premises of someone in paid employment to ask questions. The Revenue currently requires a warrant.

Peter Howarth, a tax investigations partner at Lathams said: ‘We are already seeing a more aggressive Revenue. If the merger goes ahead, we could see it with enormously increased powers obtained through the back door.’

A Revenue spokesman said the government was sensitive to concerns over the transfer set for April 1999. He said: ‘These will be taken into account when drafting the legislation.’

The Contributions Agency has revealed plans to encourage the self-employed to pay the correct amount of national insurance. It will use the results of a report published last week by the Department of Social Security.

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