Following on from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) consultation document 'Payment, Repayment and Debt', there has been a great deal of interest and concern over the proposed powers that could be given to HMRC to obtain unpaid tax revenue.
The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) will submit its response to this document in due course.
This is the beginning of the consultation process and HMRC have set out options to be considered. It is understandable that they are examining their current powers and that, where liability is very clearly established, options such as direct access to bank accounts are considered.
There are serious issues that need to be addressed. For example, if someone has a joint bank account, what redress does the 'innocent party' in the relationship have? Furthermore, what happens where HMRC and the taxpayer do not agree whether anything is owing and the issue is being handled properly through existing channels? These are the sorts of issues that we will seek to explore in consultation.
If HMRC are to gain or extend their powers, the CIOT will demand that safeguards exist for the taxpayer. We have long argued for a Taxpayers' Charter setting out rights and responsibilities.
Finally, I would like to add that the CIOT is very supportive of HMRC consulting on this crucial issue.
Rob Ellerby, President of The Chartered Institute of Taxation
For press information contact Simon Goldie on 020 7245 4122 (direct line - 24 hours). Email email@example.com