Form 1984 – Is HMRC Too Powerful?

/ Business and Economy, Government, Tax

Author: Henry Ejdelbaum

Tags: Finance Bill, Government, hmrc, Law, Tax

When thinking about the mechanisms government organisations use to seize power, Finance Bill 2019 might not be your first thought. Financial control is important, but it’s not exactly martial law and secret police levels of oppression, is it? However, the Finance Bill contains increases to the powers HMRC has available that have caused some to question whether HMRC is now capable of going “too far”.

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee recently examined the proposals and raised several questions about whether HMRC has too much power. Through anti-avoidance legislation, it was claimed that HMRC has gathered at least a dozen extra powers in recent years, with some estimates putting the number as high as one hundred, all of which can directly impact a taxpayer’s financial situation.

There were also questions raised about whether HMRC is now starting to take a “guilty until proven innocent” approach. The committee was concerned that HMRC has begun to demand that accused parties bring evidence that they are paying tax, rather than HMRC proving that they are not. Whilst there seems to be no conclusive evidence, it sets a worrying precedent for HMRC’s interactions with the taxpayer.

Whether HMRC is getting “too big for its boots” is not for us to judge, but we know that we can make sure that your taxes are handled correctly. If you have any questions about the Finance Bill or HMRC, just get in touch with your local AIMS Accountant.