HMRC Secret Bank Account Access Proposal Condemned

2 mins

HMRC's Civil Information POwers ProposalOne of the UK’s leading tax specialists today condemned the proposal that HMRC should be allowed to have secret access to taxpayers’ bank accounts, in a range of new measures being suggested to crackdown on tax evasion. Tax preparation expert David Redfern, director of DSR Tax Refunds, denounced the proposal as an unreasonable invasion of taxpayers’ privacy and urged HMRC to reconsider this proposal.

The proposal, released on 10th July under a policy document entitled “Amending HMRC’s Civil Information Powers”, suggest allowing HMRC to have secret access to taxpayers’ banking information to ascertain whether the correct amount of tax has been paid, focusing on Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, VAT and Corporation Tax where applicable. Centring on the use of Information Orders, currently HMRC can only access taxpayers’ financial information with the consent of the taxpayer, unless a tribunal orders otherwise. At present, financial institutions must notify the customer that HMRC has requested access to their financial information. However, HMRC wants to prevent prior notice being given and believes that involving the tribunal process is not resource efficient.

Tax expert Redfern is concerned at the erosion of taxpayers’ civil liberties, stating that “although HMRC is correct to crack down on tax evasion which costs the UK extensively each year, HMRC is overreaching its powers with this latest proposal. HMRC already has the right to access the financial information of taxpayers and can request an Information Order should the evidence deem it necessary – however, to allow HMRC to have secret access to financial information is an alarming suggestion and is a further step towards eroding the civil liberties of UK taxpayers”.

Redfern added “HMRC state that they believe that these powers would only be used for a few hundred cases per year and therefore shouldn’t cause much concern – however if these cases are so few and far between then their argument that the current process is too wasteful of their resources seems facile. In seeking to access bank account information in secret, HMRC appears to be extending its powers in an intrusive and troubling manner”. HMRC is accepting comments on the proposal until 2nd October 2018.

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DSR Tax Refunds Ltd (company registration 12541357) are a firm of tax rebate specialists serving clients nationwide. DSR Tax Refunds are tax preparation experts who specialise in identifying potential allowable expenses for tax rebates for clients. Their specialist team can help employed and self-employed subcontractors with all relevant paperwork to ensure their claim is handled in an accurate and efficient manner.

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