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HRMC: Thousands face tax raids on accounts

30/05/14

Chancellor George Osborne has revealed new plans for recovering tax debts, with wide-ranging reform to the current system giving authorities the permission to directly raid bank accounts in order to enforce the stricter new regulations.

The government has previously announced plans to clamp down on unpaid tax, but this represents the apotheosis of the new policy so far.

According to estimates by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), some 17,000 people a year will be affected by the scheme. HMRC will not be able to empty out accounts, instead having to leave a minimum of at least £5,000 for each taxpayer.

The UK tax authority predicted that the average debt of those likely to be targeted was £5,800. It added that in half of the cases on its books, debtors had more than £20,000 in their accounts, offsetting concerns that these measures will be unfairly targeted at people in financial difficulty.

HMRC will be able to seize money owed in tax, or money accidently paid to people due to an administrative error on their part. This will make such accidents less likely as well as easier to deal with, hopefully improving on the efficiency of the current process.

Although the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) had initially expressed its concern over the "draconian" nature of the proposed regulation, the organisation's stance softened slightly after having the opportunity to study them in full detail.

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the ACCA, admitted that the scheme is "less fearsome than first thought".

"There remain some concerns over how efficient HMRC can be in maintaining those safeguards, as well as whether this initiative is in fact a toothless one that will make no difference at all to collecting taxes owed. However, it is important now to have constructive engagement with HMRC to ensure the proposals are reasonable and proportionate," he added.

Clearly, this shift will have a major impact on many people across the UK, especially those who do not have their tax affairs in order. However, it is also likely to drive change in the job market.

Graham Young, tax manager with Marks Sattin, suggested that demand for specialists is likely to soar, especially if further rule changes are afoot as the government attempts to push its efficiency drive and increase the amount of money coming into the treasury.

"Whether you are looking for opportunities in the profession across the Big Four, Top 20, boutique firms or in-house opportunities across commerce and industry and financial services, we consistently maintain numerous job openings to ensure we can provide our candidates with unrivalled market coverage," he declared.

Even if you have some expertise in the taxation area, there can be a host of benefits accrued from working with a specialist recruiter when trying to find a good role.

Given how popular a field tax is, with a host of experienced and talented workers clamouring for the best positions, having some guidance on how to tailor your approach could make all the difference and give you an edge over the competition.

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