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Finance Act granted Royal Assent

ROYAL ASSENT has been granted to the Finance Act 2014, activating HM Revenue & Customs’ controversial set of new powers including accelerated payments on tax avoidance schemes and direct debt recovery.

Assent allows HMRC to apply the new accelerated payment rules, which sees it able to make taxpayers pay disputed tax in advance, rather than waiting for the outcome of a tax tribunal ruling. If the taxpayer wins their case, the money is reimbursed with interest.

The taxman will also be afforded powers to deduct tax directly from debtors’ bank accounts. Originally announced in March’s Budget, the powers extend as far as to include building society accounts and ISAs, with the caveat that at least £5,000 must be left across all the accounts. Debtors must owe at least £1,000 to be pursued in this way and will have been contacted at least four times for the measure to be exercised.

Currently, HMRC estimates 17,000 taxpayers will be affected annually.

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