House of Lords Report on the Powers of HMRC – HMRC responds

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee published, in early December 2018, a report into the recent extension of HMRC powers and the absence of appropriate taxpayer protection. We published a review at that time

HMRC has now published the Government Response with a covering letter from Mel Stride Financial Secretary to HM Treasury and with responsibility for HM Revenue & Customs.

The Mel Stride letter also refers to the HMRC response to another House of Lords report which you can read about here  Making Tax Digital for VAT: Treating small businesses fairly  

The HMRC response to the House of Lords report on the powers of HMRC is disappointing.

Frank Haskew, Head of Tax Faculty, commented on the original report as follows:

“The House of Lords has highlighted a number of concerns about the current balance between HMRC’s powers and taxpayer rights. Since the comprehensive review of HMRC’s powers concluded in 2012, we have slowly seen a shift in the balance being in favour of more powers for HMRC which are not always matched by corresponding taxpayer safeguards, for example the power to appeal against an accelerated payment notice. The report makes a number of recommendations which include a proposed new review of powers to consider the cumulative effect of recent changes and to identify what is needed as tax administration goes digital. ICAEW, which gave evidence to the committee, would be happy to support and contribute to such a review.”

The HMRC response states:

“Although since 2012 HMRC’s powers have evolved to tackle the changing nature of avoidance and evasion, there has been no fundamental change to the operation of the Department which would justify a further review at this time.”