Taxman wants powers to seize tax straight from bank accounts

HM Revenue & Customs is seeking the right to seize unpaid tax straight out of bank and building society accounts, without consent. Apparently such powers would be used only against deliberate tax evaders in a bid to avoid seeking a court order. They are part of a consultative document called, “Modernising Powers, Deterrents and Safeguards“. It would work like this: the relevant amount would be frozen in the account. It would be withdrawn by HMRC only if a payment ultimatum had not been met after several written letters were sent, several telephone calls had been made, and at least one visit had been made to the non-payer’s home. We all know that tax bills are not always correct, however, and this is a major worry for some.

A spokesman for HMRC defended the idea saying that it would use the proposed powers only against chronic late payers and continued, “We do not, and will not, seek access to personal bank accounts unless all other exacting avenues of communication have failed.

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