The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) is calling for an independent commission to review the tax authority’s powers. This is in response to a consultation paper issued by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC). John Cullinane, CIOT president, says: “We believe it is fundamentally inappropriate for HMRC’s powers to be reviewed by the Department’s own consultation process. HMRC is a law enforcement arm of the State and, with the best will in the world, cannot produce a balanced report on this issue because of its particular interest in the outcome. An independent commission should consider whether it needs extra powers, and, if so, what those powers should be.”
The CIOT is particularly concerned that the current consultation process does not consider, or does not consider adequately, the following fundamental principles:
• The rights of taxpayers
• The need for certainty
• The importance of simplicity.
It also does not take as its starting point the basic human rights of taxpayers as laid down by the Human Rights Act.
Mr Cullinane adds: “Compliance with the rules is very difficult for ordinary people because the tax system is complex and lacks clarity. The commission’s terms of reference should thus consider these important issues of complexity and uncertainty, as well as providing for appropriate rights of appeal against HMRC decisions.”
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Notes to Editors
The consultation document “HM Revenue & Customs and the Taxpayer: Modernising powers, deterrents and safeguards” can be found by clicking here.
The CIOT response can be read by clicking