Potential HMRC Power Increase Leaves Finance Professionals Divided

HMRC Tax PowersProposed increases to the powers that HMRC has at its command have divided the opinions of finance professionals almost equally. According to a poll by Accountancy Age, a news outlet for such professionals, a very slender majority are comfortable with the potential power increases, but almost half are not so sure.

The poll took in opinions from 108 of its readers. Of those, 51% of its readers believed that the power increase was justified and 49% found them troubling.

A range of powers have been introduced or proposed since the new year, boosting HMRC’s ability to combat tax avoidance. Some of these have been controversial. For example, many were uncomfortable with proposals contained within the 2014 Budget which would allow HMRC to take overdue tax directly out of bank accounts.

Harsher penalties for offshore tax avoidance, including the possibility of prison sentences for people who never intended to break the law, were also very controversial.