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UK Taxman To Be Given Powers To Raid Bank Accounts To Recover Debts

Despite new safeguards to allay concerns, HMRC says 17,000 'non-compliant individuals and businesses are likely to be affected by this measure each year'

Taxman

The British taxman is to be given controversial new American style powers to raid tens of thousands of personal bank accounts in order to recover tax debts

The Telegraph reports:

The powers – which were set out in documents published alongside this week’s Budget – extend to taking cash directly from tax shelters like individual savings accounts.

Small firms groups savaged the plans, with one organisation saying that “essentially it allows HMRC to play both judge and jury with little or no external oversight”.

HMRC forecasts say that 17,000 “non-compliant individuals and businesses are likely to be affected by this measure each year”.

The law change will cost HMRC £800,000 to implement but is likely to raise hundreds of millions of pounds.

The measure will raise a total of £470million between now and 2020, starting at £20million this year, rising to £110million, £130million, £115million and £95million in the following years.

Details of the change – which will be formally debated by MPs and peers in the Summer Finance Bill – are contained in the documents published alongside Wednesday’s Budget.

They say: “This Government will introduce legislation to modernise and strengthen HMRC’s power to recover tax and tax credit debts directly from debtors’ bank and building society accounts, including fund held in cash ISAs.”