‘Unpaid taxes’ retrieval power – good or bad?

This looks, on the face of it, to be perfectly acceptable. The state is merely acquiring the right to seize monies owed to it as unpaid tax. However, several of Mike’s commenters have made very good points. Jim Campbell first of all points out that it removes the presumption of innocence in British law. Under the present law, you are innocent until proven guilty. On the continent, where this piece of legislation appears to emanate, you are guilty until proven innocent. Thus, another traditional, British constitutional freedom is kicked away.

Secondly, Chriswaynepoetry and Jess both makes the very good point that it will be used, not against the tax-dodgers, who have off-shore accounts, but against the ordinary Brit at a far lower level of society. In which case, it looks like a traditional establishment piece of window-dressing. It looks like an innocuous or even impressive piece of legislation tackling an acknowledged problem, until you look at the circumstances and find that it’s directed against the poor. The rich, who owe by far the most in unpaid taxes, will not be touched. And I doubt very, very much that the Conservatives want it any other way. When Colin Challen, a Lib Dem MP, began investigating Tory financing in the 1990s, he found that half of it remains unaccounted for. There are some very powerful, and probably extremely dodgy people backing the Tories, who don’t wish their identities to be known. And it’s a fair guess that many of them are the same people dodging tax through off-shore accounts.

Mike Sivier's blog


Don’t you hate it when people avoid telling you things you ought to know?

George Osborne’s budget speech never mentioned the new power granted to HM Revenue and Customs, allowing it “to delve into Britons’ bank accounts for money that officials think is owed in unpaid taxes, in a move which critics have warned leave officials ‘a law unto themselves’,” according to the Huffington Post.

The trouble is, I’m not sure whether this is really a bad thing, or a useful tool in the battle against corporate and mega-rich tax avoiders/evaders.

Here’s what the HuffPost had to say:

“The Chancellor slipped details of the move out in the Budget’s Red Book, which stated that HMRC will be able to take money from people who owe officials over £1,000 in tax.

“Officials will only be able to use the power for Britons who have been asked ‘multiple times’ by debt…

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