The Government has watered down controversial plans that give HMRC the power to raid taxpayers’ bank accounts in order to settle unpaid debts.
The new powers were quietly ushered in as part of George Osborne’s Budget in March to recoup tax from 17,000 “recalcitrant debtors” who owe £1,000 or more.
Criticisms have led to HMRC bowing to pressure to provide additional safeguards for new plans to recover debts, including meeting all debtors face-to-face before taking action.
The Building Societies Association (BSA), represents all 44 building societies across the UK, had opposed the new powers, which would allow HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to access personal bank accounts of individuals’ to reclaim money it claims is owed to the Exchequer.
The BSA say the continued many examples of HMRC aggressively chasing debts that are not due could rush to cash in their savings and keep their money “under the mattress” as the public lose trust in the tax system.
Robin Fieth, chief executive of the BSA, said: “We do not agree with the proposed new power for the direct recovery of tax debt without judicial oversight. Under the new proposals HMRC effectively becomes judge, jury and executioner.
“What we do want to do is to work with Treasury and HMRC officials to find a way of achieving the Government’s objectives to collect tax that is due whilst ensuring the appropriate safeguards for UK citizens.”
To make sure your affairs are in order and you are prepared for HMRC’s evolving power, please contact SFB on (024) 7638 4171 or email email@example.com.