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HMRC powers review: An unsolvable problem

Wendy Bradley delves into the evaluation of HMRC’s powers, obligations and safeguards, but she’s not impressed with the process or the results.

9th Mar 2021
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HMRC powers review fails to impress
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Some problems can’t be solved, like choosing the UK entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. It doesn’t matter whether you use a panel of experts, a public vote, or some combination of the two. You will still wind up with a “Cry Baby” (last place, 2003) more often than a “Boom Bang-a-Bang” (tied for first place 1969).

It’s the same with HMRC: whether you let HMRC, the Treasury and politicians decide or run proposals through a consultative process, you will never pitch the tax authority’s powers at a level that pleases everyone.

The best you can hope for is to avoid “nul” points.

Limited review

What did I make of the 70-page evaluation of HMRC’s powers since 2012?

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Replies (4)

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
10th Mar 2021 07:57

The last sentence you quote is really galling.

That is exactly what HMRC should be doing. The reality of what they are doing most of the time is so divorced from that it is not funny.

At a webinar on the Budget, it was mentioned that HMRC are to gain power to access bank details without having to go via the taxpayer. Is this covered in the review at all?

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ghm
By TaxTeddy
10th Mar 2021 10:04

The core of the problem is Whitehall - not just HMRC - which wants the appearance of accountability, without actual accountability. While that view persists there will always be just lip-service to these problems.

Back in 2019 the Public Administration Committee reported that "Failing organisations demonstrate common characteristics, such as a lack of openness and trust, which are very evident in some departments and agencies."

Not much has changed, or is likely to.

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By ayazca
10th Mar 2021 15:57

The Core of the problem is few corrupt ministers in the House of Commons & Lords.

They have proceeds of their own crimes all stashed away in UK Crown dependency tax havens along with their International Criminal Friends, International corrupt Politicians, International Mafia, War Criminals( Politicians who have led unjust wars ), International Business Tycoons & some very large International corporates all joining forces to create an organised criminal network led by " Politically Exposed Persons " as known in Legal, Accountancy & Tax profession in UK (namely ACCA/ICAEW/ICAS/ICAI) CIMA are more internal accountants in Industry so not mainly their domain.

Whilst sitting in power these corrupt politicians will never give HMRC powers to confiscate proceeds of their crime and have them prosecuted, it's like asking these corrupt politicians to own up , pay up & serve time in prison! Can you imagine if they cheat PPE contracts & expense claims will they ever admit or own up or even think about giving powers to HMRC to prosecute them ?

Please look at my Twitter feed media files posted on 13 Feb 2021 for more details to understand the scale of the problem where HMRC's hands are being tied by these criminal politicians, we need a change of guards for a complete overhaul and reform of this broken system

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By johnjenkins
11th Mar 2021 09:33

It was amazing when Customs and excise merged with the Inland revenue that Customs powers (which greatly exceed Inland Revenue powers) weren't passed on. It shows that those in the "know" realise that Inland Revenue can't be trusted with those sort of powers. An overhaul of our tax and collection system is way overdue. HMRC apart from Customs is not fit for purpose and hasn't been for a number of years. As "customers" we demand a better service.

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