AccountancyAge poses the hypothesis that HMRC is becoming more aggressive in its approach to collecting taxes. The hypothesis is based on two sets of statistics:
1 The increase tax take of £19.5BN when comparing 2013 to 2012.
2 An increase in judicial review requests from 39 in 2011 to 51 in 2012 (the most recent data available).
The above two sets of statistics are not, in my opinion, prima facie evidence of a more aggressive approach by HMRC; eg part of the increase in tax take can be explained by an increase in employment etc.
However, Jason Collins head of tax at Pinsent Masons is of the view that the increase in applications for judicial reviews is significant:
"This significant jump in the number of applications shows just how contentious some of HMRC's decisions have become.
Although not all of these disputes will progress all the way to a full judicial review hearing, this surge in challenges reflects taxpayers' reaction to the increasingly aggressive stance taken by HMRC to increase its tax take and clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion.
I would suggest that the indicators of a more aggressive approach are more subtle; eg the ongoing attempts to water down/eliminate ESC A19 relief and the mandatory £100 fine for late filing even when there is no tax owing.Any proposals which limit scrutiny over how HMRC goes about its business could ultimately have a negative effect on the quality of the tax authority's work."
What are your views?
Tax does have to be taxing.
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