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Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Judge, Jury and Executioner
I am amused to see that the people running HMRC are fans of Judge Dredd; where Dredd is judge, jury and executioner.
It certainly seems that HMRC have taken this fantasy story as being a fact based model, on which to base their new modus operandi.
Under new penalty provisions, HMRC will set the level of fines for tax offenders and also decide the degree of fault.
I assume that it will help cut down on all that time wasting bureaucracy, whereby a third party would have to become involved in assessing guilt and determining the level of fine (if appropriate).
The new provisions (published on 1st of April - no joke!) will result in a penalty of up to
-30% of the tax due if the error is "careless";
-a penalty of up to 70% of the tax due if the error is "deliberate";
-and a penalty of up to 100% of the tax due if the error is "deliberate and the customer conceals it".
The new penalties will initially apply to errors on returns and documents for income tax, VAT, PAYE, national insurance, capital gains tax, corporation tax and the construction industry scheme.
They will kick in on return periods starting on or after 1 April 2008.
The sting in the tail with the new penalties is not just the level of penalty, but also the fact that HMRC will decide the degree of fault.
HMRC state that their benchmark of "reasonable care", when determining the seriousness of the "error", will vary according to the person involved, their circumstances and their abilities.
Somewhat subjective, don't you think?
Don't worry though; HMRC, like the Pope, is infallible (in its mind anyway).
Tax does have to be taxing.
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