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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Increased militancy in tax collection - hide your credit cards!

It is quite worrying when government agencies suspend the usual formalities of the ‘rule of law’, in other words do not follow due process, in order to collect revenue.

Well this is exactly what happened to one of our clients earlier this week.  Luckily for the client, they were well prepared and did not get flustered due to the new tactics being ‘employed’ by HMRC in order to collect compliance penalties and the like.

The scenario:

Over the last few months the HMRC staff has been trained to become more than just assessors of tax to being investigators of tax. See the linked article produced by HMRC Investigations: What you need to know.

So when you receive a phone call from an official stating that they are from the HMRC and that you should talk to then as soon as possible or face some ‘legal action’ firstly take these simple steps:

1.       Take a deep breath
2.       Calmly state that you are in the middle of something
3.       Accept their statement that you have 24 hours to get back to them or face legal action
4.       Grab, fumble or stumble for a byro and a piece of paper, for those born in the mid 20th Century or the iPhone or Blackberry or other mobile devise if you are tech savvy and take:
a.       The Reference Number
b.      The Telephone number
they are about to give you.
5.       Call your accountant or tax advisor as soon as possible quoting the reference number. 
6.       In the reference number is a clue as to the specific item the HMRC wants to discuss with you or your professional advisor
7.       Call them back within the 24 hour window of opportunity
8.       MOST IMPORTANT – Do not give them any payment information, i.e. debit or credit card information, because this is where the crux of our problem and challenge to the new methodology lies.  There is a due process for collecting outstanding or overdue debts, however, DURESS is not one of them.

Since when have officials at HMRC been instructed to ‘suspend due process’?

We believe this is an abuse of authority and not just stepping over the line, but ‘taking a huge leap forward for mankind’ in order to plug a £177 billion black hole in the UK public finances.

theMarketSoul’s advise on this occasion:

KEEP YOUR WITS ABOUT YOU!  Do not get flustered and ensure that you understand the principles and processes behind due legal process. Follow our 8 step ‘tax collection under duress guide' above, or contact us by following the link in the profile page.

Good luck.

theMarketSoul ©1999 - 2010

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