HMRC is determined to "up its game" and to ensure that those it suspects of evading taxes are dealt with sternly.
All very well, if it uses its powers sensibly and responsibly.
The question is, based on this recent query raised on AccountingWeb, is HMRC using its powers sensibly and responsibly?
Is it justified for HMRC to send round inspectors to a chip shop (hardly a multi billion dollar enterprise) unannounced at 9PM?
Actions like this will not garner respect from the hard-pressed taxpayer.
Here is the query (unedited) from AccountingWeb.
Just had a telephone call from a very upset client who had an unannounced visit by 2 HMRC inspectors to her fish and chip shop at 9.00pm last night. She was at home at the time and received a telephone call from a member of staff saying she was needed immediately.
Both myself and my client had no notice of this visit and she was very distressed by it all. They asked lots of questions as to how she ran her business, how many times she banked, how she paid her suppliers etc etc etc. She was very open with them and answered all their questions. They then waited for her to cash up the till when the shop closed at 9.30pm to make sure it agreed with the till receipt, which it did. They then left leaving my client with no idea what would happen now.
My first reaction was one of shock as I have never had this happen before and I immediately wanted to telephone HMRC to find out exactly what was going on but then I thought I would post here first to see if anyone else has any experience of this process and exactly why it has happened.
I have looked at one of HMRC helpsheets but it says as to why they do unannounced visits is when: you have chosen not to allow us to carry out (not the case here), we have made previous appointments to visit but you weren't there (not the case here) we tried to contact you (not the case here) or we have identified concerns that can only be dealt with by an unannounced visit. If this is the case will they tell me the concerns?
I look forward to hearing from you lovely people!!"
Tax does have to be taxing.
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