Saturday, 17 May 2014

"Be Thankful I Don't Take It All"

"Prime Minister, the Treasury does not work out what it needs and then think how to raise the money. It pitches for as much as it can get away with and then thinks how to spend it." 
Sir Humphrey, Yes Prime Minister.
That the government views the private purse as a magic money tree is an old age problem - one aptly illustrated by the rather bitter but not inaccurate Beatles' song, Taxman.

And it's a problem that becomes ever acute when under planned new measures in the latest budget. HMRC will have an automatic power to take money from a bank account when the holder has failed to act on four formal warnings requiring payment. Currently such actions can only be done with the permission of a magistrate or judge.

TBF senior still has an ongoing complaint with his local MP on this matter. With this in mind we note that the Telegraph today on its front page has another example of HMRC mistakes that expose deep flaws behind this proposal:
The number of people being investigated by the taxman has doubled in one year, raising concerns that people who have made innocent mistakes are being targeted by the Government.

HM Revenue & Customs made inquiries about the tax affairs of 237,215 people last year, compared with about 119,000 in 2011-12, figures obtained by The Daily Telegraph show.

The number of self-employed people investigated has quadrupled in that time while annual prosecutions have risen sevenfold in three years.
The figures are evidence of the attempts HMRC is taking to minimise the estimated £35 billion of tax lost every year.

Experts have warned that people who have made simple errors when filling out self-assessment tax returns are “an easy target” for HMRC.
Not unsurprisingly HMRC will go after the "low hanging fruit". They are more unlikely to resist and lack the means of fighting back successfully:
Mark Giddens, a partner at the accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, said HMRC was focused on collecting tax from “soft targets” such as “teachers, doctors..." These taxpayers were more likely to settle without dispute, he said.
As Bill Cosby noted "the government comes for the regular people first".

Other mistakes are not uncommon and HMRC even loses our data. Naturally despite overwhelming objections, we still get the "reassuring" dulcet tones of the Treasury on transmit only:
"Although the vast majority do this, there is still a minority that chooses not to pay, despite being able. The proposed powers will give HMRC another tool to collect tax debt owed. The current consultation includes a range of safeguards to ensure the power is tightly targeted.”
"A range of safeguards". Not that would amount to a tin of beans of course. Who decides how to implement the safeguards? Well HMRC... However those in government tend to enthusiastically support such measures as they rarely experience the downsides of their actions because they have the money and the means to immune themselves from the consequences at the coalface that the rest of us have to endure.

And as the experiences of Complete Bastard fighting with South Gloucestershire Council over council tax very clearly shows not even the law is a defence - especially when it consists of willful corruption by the Police, Councils and Bailiffs in the cause of forcing people to hand over money which the state believes is theirs regardless. He quite rightly notes in conclusion:
Put simply, this is a government at war with its people.
Of course we as a people can rebel...and demand a better way of running our own country.


  1. Let us not forget the plight of Abbey Forwarding eh!

    It's still going on / ongoing - and the Teleegraph has spiked two further articles about the hienous abuse of powers and corruption at HMRC

    Like this one

    The court transcripts make for some interesting reading (if you are really bored!) here (Note the HMRC witness names....)

    Over 4 years and still being jerked around and HMRC covering up and paying hundreds of thousands in barrister fees to string it out and exploring technical loopholes.

    1. Thanks for those useful links, much appreciated. They really are a bunch of bastards