Kevin Reed, Accountancy Age, Thursday 13 May 2010 at 14:52:00

Biggest fears fail to materialise over new HMRC powers

The worst fears of the implications of increases in HM Revenue & Customs powers over the past year "have not been realised", according to a new report by the CIoT.

New powers to inspect individuals and businesses, plus a harsher penalty regime, caused great concern among advisers.

While few horror stories have materialised in the past year, advisers have told the CIoT of some concerns.

"The worst fears about excessive and inappropriate use of the new powers have not been realised. However, there are a number of ways we have identified in the report in which the new powers are not operating as effectively as we think they could," said CIoT president Andrew Hubbard.

There is a lack of clarity about how certain powers will be used in certain circumstances, and how formal and informal powers interact.

"There is a clear need for a ?route map? showing taxpayers and their advisers how the various powers and sanctions fit together," said Hubbard.

Some serious instances of tax evasion have been treated the same as those made innocently, said Hubbard.

The report also calls for more specialist training for HMRC staff and better collaboration between the department and other professional bodies.

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