Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Taxman to open a new account - yours

21 April 2014

What difference would it make to you if HMRC had greater powers to access your business or personal bank accounts? Potentially quite a lot, actually.

You’ve nothing to worry about, have you? Your affairs are in order. With your sensible investment in professional accountancy services, your accounts are an open book, literally. So, when it comes time to settle your public obligations to community and state (that’s your tax bill) you’ll be well placed to honour your liability. It’s the real rogues that need to worry.

Yes... those who seek to sneak out of their share, and evade paying tax had better watch out. Under new powers, currently out to consultation, HMRC would be able to snatch funds from the bank accounts of the most errant of errant tax debtors. Those extra-judicial powers would put the tax authorities above all other authorities, and leave no recourse for trial, arbitration or appeal. There’s a word for that - Draconian.

Ah, but hasn’t there been a hullabaloo in the press with various associations, including the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants crying foul, unconstitutional, and even breach of human rights. There’s an immediate fear that, like so many tax laws in the past, this undoubtedly good intention could be the first paving stone on a road to aggressive tax collection Hell.

HMRC say that the powers of enforced collection would only be available in a tiny minority of cases. Indeed, the consultation proposes that access would only be granted where several conventional attempts had been made to collect outstanding tax; where the debt was over £1000; and the funds left intact would be more than £5000 in the debtors account.

So, keep your debts under £999, and don’t let your bank balance go over £4999. Easy for some. Indeed. Easy is why fears are rife that the limits would soon be changed - or abandoned. That would open anyone to an inquisition that might as well be lead by a stern fellow with an HMRC business card that says Taxefynder General, who, it need hardly be said, would be at the front of the queue to collect any debts, leaving other creditors potentially in the cold.

So these proposals could potentially make a difference to you - rest assured though, as with all developments in the Finance Act - Springfords will be keeping abreast.

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springfords blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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