It seems that HMRC are enacting some form of "blockade" (usually regarded as an act of war when conducted on the international stage) against Christopher Lunn & Co (CLAC), a Sussex accounting firm.
The firm claims that HMRC is refusing to deal with it, and will not allow it to file certain tax returns while it is being investigated.
According to the FT CLAC were raided by HMRC in June 2010 and the firm's files taken.
Despite the investigation going on for the last 6 months, HMRC have not told them why they are being investigated. CLAC suspect it is part of HMRC's much vaunted (unless of course you are Vodafone or a friend of Hartnett) anti avoidance campaign.
In a letter sent by HMRC to clients on 30 November 2010, HMRC stated:
"The Commissioners of Revenue and Customs have come to the decision that in light of all the circumstances, there is no alternative other than to cease to deal with CLAC as an agent or representative for any of our customers. This includes communication in writing, via the telephone or by any electronic means."
A decision on the High Court civil action is due in the coming weeks.
Guilty until proven innocent appears to be the maxim of HMRC.
Should this department be given such powers, and be allowed to treat firms and individuals in such a high handed manner without due process?
Power of this nature, especially when in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, corrupts.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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