Tax avoidance = benefit scrounging - according to Nick Clegg.
"Today Mr Clegg will accuse middle class earners who pay accountants to minimise their tax bills of behaving like ‘benefit cheats’.
He will say that legal tax avoidance and illegal evasion are ‘just as bad’ as falsely claiming benefits, adding: ‘Both come down to stealing money from your neighbours."
Sources at HMRC suggested that “voice recognition analysis”, which alerts investigators when a caller claiming benefits sounds nervous, could be used to identify those seeking to mislead tax inspectors.
So - Mr Clegg wants to make legally arranging your affairs an "offence" and in one speech insults an entire profession and vast numbers of small business owners.
"Voice recognition analysis" is not accepted in courts and is, at best, little better than witchcraft based upon highly questionable pseudo-scientific theories which have been discredited time and again in the courts (particularly in the USA). Despite this HMRC want to use it - which is one way of reducing phone calls because no sensible person would allow themselves to be falsly accused based on such mumbo-jumbo.
Clegg wants to harass innocent taxpayers, (particularly those with small businesses and paying the 50% tax rate), to intrusive investigations based on no facts whatsoever and actually wants to brand them as "criminals" for obeying the law.
I believe it is time the accountancy profession stood up to these bullying tactics and made it veery clear to government and to HMRC that we will not tolerate clients being harassed, villified, and threatened for doing what is totally legal.
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