HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
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.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Handling Stolen Data

TheftHere's an interesting "little" story about some stolen data files, no not the "datagate" files of 25 million British citizens, but some stolen data files from HSBC Switzerland.

HSBC stated yesterday that a former IT employee had stolen information concerning 24,000 clients and former customers.

The Times reports that the French authorities have now acquired the data, and are examining data on the 3,000 French account holders on the list.

The question hanging in the air is whether HMRC will seek to acquire this ill gotten data (or at least the portion that covers British citizens who may, or may not, have been evading tax).

Switzerland has categorically stated that it will not co-operate with any attempt by foreign tax authorities to use the data. HSBC have also stated:

"We will not support any authorities seeking to use stolen data in pursuit of tax inquiries."

However, HMRC have "form" in this area as they acquired stolen data relating to Liechtenstein bank accounts three years ago.

Whilst the Swiss may not offer up any details, the French authorities who now have the data may well be less fussy.

Tax evasion is illegal.

However, should a government organ be using illegally acquired data to pursue suspected tax evaders?

Do two wrongs really make a right in this case?

In some countries, evidence acquired without due process (eg a warrant) is deemed inadmissible.

Doubtless there may be many who argue that tax evaders (remember it has to be proven first that they are evaders) don't deserve the protection of the law. Cut down one law and others will be exposed to an overzealous state seeking to prosecute those that it deems to have acted "illegally".

Would you be happy with state organs, eg the police, bursting into your homes without due process having been followed?

Will HMRC start to pay people to commit theft on its behalf?

That is where this may well lead.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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1 comment:

  1. Who was the IT employee stealing the data for in the first place?

    Unfortunalty our legal system would not stop HMRC using stolen data. My experience shows that our courts are weak and allow illegal practice to take place within it's court rooms.