ICAEW calls for legislation consolidating HMRC powers
4 March 2020: HMRC’s complex ‘patchwork of powers’ should be brought together into a single piece of legislation providing clarity for taxpayers and agents, according to ICAEW’s Tax Faculty.
In its response to HMRC’s evaluation of its powers, the Tax Faculty argues that: “The long list of powers included in the review, together with those introduced prior to 2012, highlights that the vast array of powers has meant that this area has become far too complicated for taxpayers, advisers and HMRC to understand.”
The faculty urges the creation of a new consolidated Taxes Management Act where all HMRC’s powers can be brought together in one place.
The faculty’s response also supports the CIOT’s recent call for greater clarity on what constitutes “deliberate behaviour” in relation to tax matters. According to the Tax Faculty: “The lack of clarity in the law assists neither HMRC nor taxpayers and often causes disputes to become unnecessarily protracted.”
ICAEW is a member of HMRC’s Evaluation of Powers and Safeguards Forum and, along with other professional body stakeholders, has been contributing to its work since the forum was established.
HMRC provided forum members with a list of post-2012 powers within the scope of the evaluation exercise and a questionnaire for forum members to use to gather evidence from members.
The faculty’s response, ICAEW representation 05/20, was submitted on 28 February 2020 alongside 23 questionnaires completed by ICAEW members. The Tax Faculty would like to thank those members who contributed.
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (FST), Jesse Norman, made a written ministerial statement on 22 July 2019 in which he explained the background to the evaluation exercise:
“The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee proposed a review of all powers granted to HMRC since the conclusion of the Powers Review in 2012. I have considered this carefully and concluded that a full review of HMRC powers is not necessary at this time. The powers granted to HMRC since 2012 were properly scrutinised before being granted by Parliament. The Government’s view is that they remain necessary and proportionate. I have, however, asked HMRC to evaluate the implementation of powers introduced since 2012 in relation to the powers and safeguards principles, engaging with stakeholders, including taxpayers and their representatives. This will be published in early 2020.”