Friday, May 9, 2014

Sticky fingers

Seems that our MP's are a tad worried by the fact that the taxman or HMRC has gained additional powers in the budget to go raiding our bank accounts without our permission or the permission of a judge too.
I have to admit it bothers me that anyone can touch my money without my permission, I have enough problems with the bank asking me questions when I make a large withdrawal, it really is none of their business what I do with it and I'm unhappy enough with the government via the taxman ripping me off by grabbing so much in income tax and national insurance not to mention VAT and the other sales taxes they bandy about.
Innocent people face having money taken straight out of their bank accounts under draconian powers to be used by the taxman, MPs warn on Friday.
A Treasury plan to allow HM Revenue and Customs to remove cash from bank accounts without a court order is “very concerning” because of its history of mistakes, a Commons committee said.
In a consultation document this week, HMRC said the "direct recovery" powers could be used to take money from joint accounts.
The tax authorities admitted this week that about 17,000 people a year would be targeted under the new measures, set out in the Budget and designed for use against people who owe them money.
But today the Commons Treasury committee says that taxpayers could suffer “serious detriment” if officials are able, either by mistake or through an “abuse” of power, to take money from people who have done no wrong.
Yes, it's not like the inland revenue are infallible, nor are they known for their patience, I can imagine a scenario where they grab the cash and hold onto it whilst an appeal or other proceedings are occurring. Nor would I expect them to simply target their victim announced debtor, the funds in the account may actually be a partners, their children or others held in trust and if they simply grab it without a judge hearing an explanation others could suffer (and probably will)
Giving HMRC this sort of power is akin to letting a kiddy loose in a sweet shop without supervision, they'll simply not be able to help themselves. Seems that putting your cash in the banks (of the UK) is a big mistake, I can see a day coming where overseas banks may become the choice of many, at least the taxman won't be able to get at them quite so easily (so long as they aren't in the EU)

2 annotations:

Anonymous said...

One of their problems is their level of service and their own view of themselves. I had a run in with some years ago over a comparatively measly £1500 pounds. They lost virtually all the originals I sent them (which was my fault apparently) and put my enquiry phone calls on a repeated three week service level queue. When I pointed out that this wasn't acceptable, I was met with the response of"it's not a case of what you think is acceptable"

I know I'm not alone. Having once overhearing a business owner discussing their dealings with HMRC, he explained how they had once told him that they weren't like a normal business in that they didn't see themselves as being bound by the usually accepted ways of responding to those they had dealings with. Roughly translated that sounded like we do what we bloody like and you have to live with it.

Anonymous said...

The message is clear. The Government believes it owns ALL the wealth I generate and I get to use whatever the Government's whim dictates.

My view is that if I have done something wrong then take me to Court and if the judge finds me guilty then so be it.

The latest almighty cock up re Venture Capital Trusts is the latest in a long line of cock ups, including shed loads of lost personal data, which proves that HMRC is not fit for purpose.