Is the taxman going too far? This is the question we have to ask ourselves today. The taxman has been given the authority to bug people’s phones and read their emails and letters.
In order to reassure taxpayers, the Inland Revenue declared that these new powers will not be used in routine tax investigations. As noticed by Sunday Times ”one area where the new regulations could have an impact is against those who failed to come forward during HMRC’s partial amnesty for offshore account holders. […]HMRC offered a limited window of opportunity for taxpayers to disclose savings held in offshore accounts on which they had not paid tax.
About 45,000 people with bank accounts in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and Isle of Man coughed up £400m by the November 26 deadline, but this may be only a fraction of the total held offshore. ”(Ali Hussain, Sunday Times, February 17, 2008)
Although the tax office has assured people that the powers will only be used in the most serious of cases, some experts have expressed concerns.
Mike Warburton of tax partners Grant Thornton said: “Once the new powers are available it will be very difficult to stop the taxman using them.”(Ali Hussain, Sunday Times, February 17,2008)
To surprise you even more, senior tax officials are being rewarded for failure as they are given record bonuses totalling more than £23 million this year despite the department continuing to lose £1 billion to fraud and error. This also came just three months after the department admitted it had lost computer discs containing the tax credit details of 25 million people.
In its defence, HMRC said that these payments were based on last year performances and those for the current financial year had not been set.
Taxile‘s tax accountants in South London would like to know your opinion in these matters, so write your personal comments on our blog. Are you for or against the way the tax office handles their tax investigations? Do you think of it as an intrusion in people’s life or is it in our best interest on the long run? Share today your thoughts with us,your opinion matters!