Taxpayers will be treated as “guilty until proven innocent” as HM Revenue & Customs gets the power to force them to pay up front if officials suspect them of tax avoidance.Yep, they decide you owe them and force you to hand it over and they hold onto it until you prove it's not theirs. It's a bit like a shop grabbing your wallet before you go in and deciding how much you're going to spend.
Under plans announced in the Queen’s Speech, people using tax avoidance schemes will be made to make “accelerated payments” as part of plans to raise around £2 billion.
Treasury figures suggest that 65,000 people could be affected by the new powers. HMRC could raise a more than £2bn in all.
The most controversial aspect of the new plans is for the new rules to apply to a “legacy stock” of pre-existing cases, where people invested money in contentious schemes several years ago.
George Osborne earlier this year announced a major Government crackdown on tax avoiders following a series of high-profile cases involving celebrities including Gary Barlow, the Take That singer.
Experts have warned that it will lead to tens of thousands of potentially innocent British citizens being forced to pay their taxes before they are even due.
The all-party Treasury Select Committee last month expressed concerns about the plans for up-front payments to HMRC.
Neal Todd, corporate tax partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner, warned that the HMRC are acting as “judge and jury”.
HMRC of course have form for getting it wrong and being extremely slow to put things right, it appears once they have our cash in their hands they're very reluctant to actually let go of it again under any circumstances whether its a mistake or incompetence on their part. And what we have with this proposed legislation is the equivalent of letting a fox into the chicken coop with instructions to go after specific chickens, you know it's going to be messy and mistakes are going to be made.
No doubt the leftards out there who bleat about avoidance as if it's a crime will be pleased that companies and individuals will be targeted, yet avoidance isn't a crime, evasion is and it needs to be proven, not simply suspected before you paid up or paid back.
Well you'd hope...