I see that HMRC seem to have gone on another of their little fishing trips, wrt using queries about possible errors on tax returns to find out financial information about the taxpayer and others (eg divorce settlements).
That at least is the view of the ICAEW Tax Faculty:
"We have received reports that HMRC is making informal enquiries which may amount to no more than thinly disguised fishing trips.In the event that you have had similar experiences please feel free to share here, and also let the Tax Faculty know.
HMRC has staff working in Compliance Centres whose job is to make less formal enquiries, such as to query the amount of interest declared on a return where it does not agree with information in their possession. Robert Maas wrote about this in TAXline in May 2011.
Generally, we welcome this initiative as it can save a lot of time and expense in resolving simple enquiries. However, is HMRC over-stepping the mark and using this process as a convenient way to obtain information to which it would not normally be entitled?
One example quoted to us is that of an enquiry being made into the return of a divorced woman to find out more about her divorce settlement and therefore her ex-husband.
Have you had similar experiences?"
Tax does have to be taxing.
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