Big Taxman is Watching You!

Dr Vernon Coleman MB ChB DSc FRSA

Here’s some stuff everyone should know about the tax authorities (HMRC) in the UK:

1. HMRC may be employed by us but they are not are friends; they now deliberately try to frighten taxpayers by threatening prison, huge fines and, now, by threatening to `name and shame’ those who are accused of trying to escape their tax burden.
2. If you or I buy or receive stolen information, we go to prison. If HMRC buys or receive stolen information, we are still the ones who go to prison. The willingness of HMRC to use stolen information is a clear sign that the taxman now considers himself to be above the law.
3. HMRC receives over 100,000 reports from snitches every year. Some informants are aggrieved employees, wives, husbands or friends. Others do it for the money. HMRC pays out around £500,000 a year to informants. (I do hope the snitches report their income on their tax forms.)
4. The tax people want to force us to do all our tax reports online. And they want us filling in tax forms every three months. I find the online tax forms incomprehensible and counter-intuitive. But HMRC says that they will not accept this as an excuse for failing to use their wretched website. Use it or lose your freedom.
5. HMRC has a computer program called Connect which gives it information from banks, credit card companies and the Land Registry. Connect also now forces apps and companies such as Apple, Amazon, PayPal, etc., to hand over all information that it might find useful. Laughably, HMRC says that its powers to obtain confidential information `have no implication for individuals’ privacy’. Ho ho ho.
6. By using something called Common Reporting Standards, HMRC obtains details of all money earned from foreign sources.
7. HMRC keep a close eye on social media. Folk who publish pictures of themselves on Facebook or who appear on television reality programmes are likely to be spotted by the taxman. Was that a new car in the background? And where was that holiday destination?
8. The taxman studies Google Earth to check on building extensions and property renovations. The taxman sits in his little office wondering: `How did that family afford their new conservatory?
9. Bank staff, accountants and solicitors must now alert law enforcement agencies – and the tax office – if they have any suspicion that an individual may not be able to explain where money came from or what it is for. As a result, nothing we share with these people is private.
10. New legislation forces taxpayers to disclose all sorts of information about themselves. And it is important to remember that the HMRC is now above the law.

Finally, remember, you don’t have to be guilty of anything to be investigated by the tax authorities. Random enquiries which involve the persecution of entirely innocent citizens can last years. If your neighbour gets turned over by the tax people just remember: there but for the grace of God…

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2018