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Taxman changes its tune on direct fund recovery

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has come to its senses, revising its ability to raid taxpayer bank accounts with impunity in search of unpaid tax revenue.

Somehow, somewhere, HMRC has seen the light and decided to not be completely wrongheaded in its approach to recovering unpaid taxes from hapless Brits by raiding their bank accounts without even the fluttering of an eyelash. In fact, the newly revised plans call for actually alerting the taxpayer in question, offering him or her the opportunity to appeal the decision before the taxman turns your pockets inside out looking for spare change.

Back during the 2014 Budget, chancellor George Osborne announced the Direct Recovery of Debt system, a programme that gave HMRC the authority to repossess assets from anyone who owed the tax authority more than £1,000. This could have subjected to any number of Brits to the taxman’s tender ministrations, though it would especially hit any contractors or freelancers who incorrectly underpaid on their self assessment tax.

However, HRMC has finally decided that maybe it’s not such a good idea to just plunder people’s bank accounts without at least giving these same people a bit of a warning. Now, anyone who stands to have their cash taken from them is actually entitled to a face to face meeting as part of the appeal process. on top of that, you’ll have a full 30 days to either object to HMRC’s challenge or to fork over the cash you allegedly owe. On top of that, the tax authority won’t be able to request a full 12 months of data from your bank or building society. Instead only your account balance will be divulged.

Now if you ask me this is likely to be the best development yet when it comes to this particular idea. I was certainly no fan of the idea of HMRC just reaching its hands into the cookie jar and running off with your family jewels unopposed, so learning that the taxman can’t just take the money and run is welcome news indeed.

Honestly, who thought that such a plan was a good idea in the first place? Oh, yes – our lovely Chancellor of the Exchequer. Well I’ve got a few choice words for him now don’t I?

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