There will be a guaranteed face-to-face contact with an HMRC officer and the creation of a specialist unit to deal with cases involving vulnerable members of society, as well as the provision of a dedicated DRD team and helpline.
Additionally, action will only be taken against those with over £1,000 of tax or tax credits debt, a minimum of £5,000 will be left across debtors' accounts, a lien will only be placed on the funds in the affected account up to the value of the debt and the recalcitrant taxpayers will have 30 days (twice as long as originally planned) to contact HMRC and arrange repayment.
Many people are hailing this as a victory, and are expressing gratitude to the government for listening. All very well, and polite. However, I would make two observations:
1 There are perfectly adequate means, via the courts, already at the disposal of HMRC to recover tax debts. These extra powers are unnecessary.
2 The above modifications are merely "promises" made by Gauke et al. Until the proposed legislation is actually scrutinised, those offering thanks for a "listening" government may care to take their feet off the "gratitude pedal" and stop kowtowing.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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