LITRG reminds HMRC that taxpayers have rights
HMRC’s recent consultation exercise on Modernising powers, deterrents and safeguards fails to reflect wider social and legal developments, whereby individuals are viewed as citizens who have rights which must be respected. This is the key message in LITRG’s response. In particular, we are concerned that the consultation document has not fully considered the rights and needs of individuals on low incomes.
In any revision of its compliance regimes, HMRC must recognise and respect:
- the right to information;
- the right to explanations and advice;
- the right to high standards of service;
- the right to pay the right amount of tax or to receive the appropriate benefits administered by HMRC;
- the right to appeal against any decision of HMRC;
- the right not to be burdened by HMRC omission, and
- the right to support in securing one’s rights.
These rights should be incorporated in a Bill of Rights, which should be:
- enshrined in law;
- capable of amendment only by Parliament;
- underpinned by a complaints procedure which is simple, quick, independent, and well-publicised;
- independently monitored.
Beyond that, we make a number of detailed recommendations.
- In working towards the new regime, HMRC should start by addressing the circumstances of individuals on low incomes, who pay more than their fair share of taxes through inadvertent overpayment.
- They should continue by examining the many ‘safeguards’ which are currently inadequate, and which we point out in our response.
- We make a number of recommendations to ease the burden on the low-income self-employed, incentives to pay tax in smaller more frequent instalments, harmonisation and modernisation of debt recovery procedures, and more generous arrangements to enable individuals to move out of the informal economy.
- We report on a project examining the role played by the Voluntary and Community Sector in relation to matters administered by HMRC. We ask for confirmation that HMRC will support this project.
Click on the link below to read the full response.
Contact: Robin Williamson (Tel: 0844 579 6700 Fax 0844 579 6701)
Powers. deterrents & safeguards