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CIOT and ATT voice concern over DRD proposals

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Tax professionals are calling on the government to provide additional safeguards around their proposals for direct recovery of tax debt. While supportive of the government’s motive of increasing tax compliance, the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) and the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) believe some form of judicial oversight should be required before anyone, including government departments, can take money directly from a citizen or business’s bank account.

The two bodies, which represent some 24,500 tax professionals between them, set out their views in response to a government consultation which closed last week.

CIOT president Anne Fairpo commented: ‘The government is right to want to collect the money it is owed by indebted taxpayers who can pay but won’t pay. However this process must be subject to judicial oversight. Enabling HMRC to bypass the courts and take money directly out of bank accounts is disproportionate.’

‘Additionally, to safeguard vulnerable debtors, the government should only pursue debts through the direct recovery of debt route for sums far greater that the currently proposed minimum sum of £1,000.’

ATT president Natalie Miller commented:‘The administration of tax collection is not a perfect science. In reality HMRC make errors, and sometimes significant ones, causing real financial hardship for otherwise compliant taxpayers. It is therefore paramount that adequate safeguards are in place to protect taxpayers in cases of administrative error.’

‘Our members are also concerned that the impact of these proposals has not been correctly costed, and that HMRC have underestimated the resources which will be needed to administer it. The government should publish its workings, setting out how it will allocate funds to safeguarding mechanisms and prove that they will be adequately resourced.’