HMRC to gain access to your bank account
There are some who see tax as a form of legalised theft. It is all done with the best intentions, of course, but at the end of the day, HMRC is often thought of as putting its hand in your pocket and helping itself to a slice of your income and gains, to be spent as the government of the day sees fit, and whether you agree with it or not.
It is perhaps a slight exaggeration to say that HMRC can put its hand in your pocket. But from 2015, it will be given the legal power to take money from your bank account without your consent. Subject to legislation being approved, HMRC will have this power if you have an unpaid tax bill.
The idea is to use this power when repeated attempts to collect tax in the traditional way have been ignored. It is reported that HMRC expects this to happen ‘only’ 17,000 times a year. But anyone who has had any experience of HMRC will know that they are not beyond making mistakes, such as sending demands to the wrong address, or overlooking that the fact that tax is actually in dispute. One has to hope that similar mistakes will not be made when it dives into our bank accounts.
A consultation process is to be carried out before the legislation is enacted. And we are promised ‘rigorous safeguards.’ In the meantime, be wary of anyone who asks for your bank account and sort code!