New powers to inspect individuals and businesses, plus a harsher penalty
regime, caused great concern among advisers.
While few horror stories have materialised in the past year, advisers have
told the CIoT of some concerns.
“The worst fears about excessive and inappropriate use of the new powers have
not been realised. However, there are a number of ways we have identified in the
report in which the new powers are not operating as effectively as we think they
could,” said CIoT president Andrew Hubbard.
There is a lack of clarity about how certain powers will be used in certain
circumstances, and how formal and informal powers interact.
“There is a clear need for a ‘route map’ showing taxpayers and their advisers
how the various powers and sanctions fit together,” said Hubbard.
Some serious instances of tax evasion have been treated the same as those
made innocently, said Hubbard.
The report also calls for more specialist training for HMRC staff and better
collaboration between the department and other professional bodies.
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