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.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Grim RIPA

As the power of HMRC grows, and the political pressure to bring in more tax revenue increases, so does HMRC's temptation to spy on taxpayers.

The Telegraph reports that an FOI request shows that HMRC officials made almost 14,400 authorised views of "communications data" on taxpayers during tax evasion investigations.

This compares to more than 11,500 such views in 2010, an increase of almost 25%.

HMRC uses the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), the same act used by local councils to spy on their residents, to access details on what websites are viewed by taxpayers, where a mobile phone call was made or received and the date and time of emails, texts and phone calls.

From October 2011 to the end of September 2012, HMRC was given 172 authorisations for "directed surveillance", covert surveillance, mainly in public places.

HMRC won't tell the media how many times the surveillance has led to a successful prosecution for tax evasion, or whether those found to be innocent are told that they have been spied on.

HMRC have also refused to disclose how many times it had been given warrants to intercept and read peoples' private emails, or listen to their phone calls.

An HMRC spokesman said:
Our use of these powers is subject to regular independent inspection, ensuring it is both proportionate and lawful."
The use of RIPA is not well regulated, as evidenced by the absurdly petty nature of RIPA surveillance carried out by local councils.

Power corrupts!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Just because you don't think they are looking at you doesn't mean they are not! LOL!

  2. 172 is not a lot, and don't forget, by the time they get to that stage all other methods of establishing/provin or not of alleged evasion should have been tried.
    They are obviously looking after the interests of the innocent and doing their utmost to avoid collateral intrusion.
    Now, just how many prosecutions for evasion were there (with or without RIPA authotities)?

  3. If you think that Criminal Investigation within HMRC has the time or inclination to be snooping on innocent tax payers, you are on another planet. There are more criminal cases than we can possibly deal with ranging from massive international tobacco smuggling organisations to organised attacks on tax credit systems from eastern Europe. There's no fairness in expecting the majority to pay their taxes if you don't pursue the dishonest at the same time.