UK Government Powers To Confiscate Deposits Faces Backlash

Monday, April 7, 2014
By Paul Martin

Monday, 7 April 2014

UK Government Powers To Confiscate Deposits Faces Backlash
Last week, we covered the very under reported but important story about how the UK government now has powers to raid banks accounts and confiscate deposits.

On Saturday the Financial Times covered the story and the fact that the hitherto unnoticed measures are now facing scrutiny and a backlash.

“George Osborne is facing a backlash over plans to give HM Revenue & Customs unprecedented powers to dip into taxpayers’ bank accounts to seize unpaid tax debts,” according to the FT.

MPs, banks and charities want robust safeguards over powers that will allow the Revenue to order banks to pay outstanding debts from taxpayers’ bank accounts, following fears that the measure could be used inappropriately and cause hardship.

Andrew Tyrie, who chairs the Treasury select committee, said the MPs intended to hold further hearings into the new powers, which he said could set a worrying precedent.

Many banks want judicial oversight to apply to the new powers, as they worry about being caught between irate customers and the tax authorities.

“HMRC doesn’t have the best record of getting things right,” a banking source told the FT.

The idea was previously floated in a 2007 consultation, but it was dropped after widespread criticism over the adequacy of the safeguards, the possibility of creating hardship and the risk of HMRC error.

John Thurso, a Liberal Democrat MP on the Treasury select committee, criticised Mr Osborne for slipping the measure out in the Budget in just two paragraphs. “Any advance of powers by the state needs to be resisted unless they can justify it,” he said.

The Rest…HERE

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