Friday, 21 November 2014

Tax grabbing powers watered down

The government has watered down its plans to given tax officers the power to take money directly out of the bank accounts of people who don't pay their tax.

Those targeted will have the right to appeal to the county court and each will receive a face to face visit.

The proposals from the the Budget in March were designed to deal with about 17,000 persistent non-payers of tax, people owing more than £1,000 who have ignored a minimum of 4 letters and telephone calls.

But campaigners objected, saying that the power was excessive, enabled HM Revenue and Customs to get around the need for a court order and didn't allow for the likelihood that it would make mistakes.

So the government has backed down to an extent.

While still planning to let tax officers take money from bank accounts, it will bring in 30 day notice period and lay down that those targeted will receive visits designed to check they understand the process and can pay.

And crucially, they will have the right to appeal to a County Court.

The Treasury expects to gain £100m a year from the measure, but some accountants believe that the numbers affected will be cut drastically as a result of today's change.

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