The old saying "all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" has been taken on board and clearly understood by the new ICAEW president, David Furst.
Mr Furst, a partner at Horwath Clark Whitehill and national head of the firm's professional practices group, is to push the government to safeguard taxpayers from sweeping new HMRC powers.
He has called on parliament to insert safeguards against new HMRC powers in the finance bill.
The new powers give HMRC officials the right to turn up at business premises, including those of third parties such as tax advisers, and inspect books and records.
There is no requirement to give notice of an impending visit, and there is no right of appeal.
Let us be very clear, these powers are akin to those used by "officials" in a third world police state. The temptation to use them unfettered would be too great.
As Mr Furst says:
"There is potential for the powers to be used by individual officers in a way which is inappropriate and unacceptable.
The ICAEW will be lobbying very hard for any new powers to be subject to limits and conditions, with safeguards spelled out in statute."
Let us hope that the government listens to the ICAEW.
Tax does have to be taxing.
The New Statesman, Britain's leading political magazine is delighted to announce that HMRC Is Shite has been nominated for a New Media Award in the category of Campaign For Change. The campaign for change award will go to the individual or organisation that has most effectively influenced opinions and behaviour through the use of new media technology. The winner of this award will champion a cause and provide information and tools to instigate change.
The full press release can be downloaded here.
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