Direct recovery of tax petition gathers steam
The new power is due to be introduced in the Finance Act 2015.
The petition says: “These proposals have been widely criticised [by representative bodies, charities and civil liberties groups] as poorly conceived, unworkable, and severely deficient in safeguards.
“They should not be implemented in Finance Act 2015. Instead they should be withdrawn and sufficient time given to carry out a wide-ranging consultation on the problem of deliberate non-payment and potential solutions.”
There is growing opposition to the proposal among politicians and the accountancy profession. The ICAEW also thinks the proposed power is a bad idea.
“[It] is unconstitutional and the safeguards are far from adequate: independent judicial oversight is essential,” the institute said. “HMRC should go back a step and consult on better ways to tackle the problem of persistent non-payers.”
MPs have said the proposal to recover tax debts from the bank accounts of an estimated 17,000 people went against the principle of the Magna Carta, a document in 1215, which aimed to protect citizens' rights from the king.
HMRC has said it is a fair and efficient way to collect tax owed and that there will be safeguards to protect people facing genuine hardship.