The Register reports that HMRC has promised not to sell any taxpayer data to the private sector, only "share" it.
"No final decisions have been taken, but HMRC remains committed to safeguarding taxpayer confidentiality," El Reg was told by an HMRC spokesman.So that's alright then?
HMRC would only share data where this would generate clear public benefits, and where there are robust safeguards in place. There is no question of HMRC selling data."
Last year’s consultation made it very clear that there would be a rigorous accreditation process for anyone wanting access to the data and that any access would take place in a secure environment. Those accessing data would be subject to the same confidentiality provisions as HMRC staff, including a criminal sanction for unlawful disclosure of taxpayer information.We understand that the types of "anonymised" data the HMRC could offload includes employment information about citizens who have been in government programmes to help them find a job and housing info to see how certain characteristics might be connected to excess winter mortality rates."
HMRC will be consulting further and will ask for views on whether to charge to cover the costs of processing and providing anonymised data. This would not be charging for the data itself, purely covering the costs of providing it.
Irrespective of the promise not to charge for the data, there is still a way that HMRC can benefit if it it uses its brains.
Simply follow a similar business model to the one that it employs with Cable & Wireless for 0845 numbers, wherein Cable & Wireless earn revenue from the number whilst offsetting part of that revenue against the charges HMRC for providing the phone service.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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