Accessibility Page Navigation
Style sheets must be enabled to view this page as it was intended.


Smart Scot-Buzz readers will recall our item back on March 25 flagging up the plans to allow HM Revenue & Customs to raid bank accounts to recover tax claims – without any warning to depositors.

It was spotted by our ever-alert regular commentator Honey McBee, the power behind Scot-Buzz and The Eye That Never Sleeps.

Now, a month later, it has blown up into a big political storm at Westminster. MPs on the Treasury Select Committee last week declared the proposals announced in George Osborne’s Budget in March as “very concerning” because of the risk of mistakes and the tax authority’s history of errors.

Quite right, too.

And this under a Conservative chancellor. Even ‘Red Ed’ Miliband might have baulked at this one.

Now comes a warning that the plans could trigger capital flight.

Nigel Green, heads of financial advisory concern deVere Group, says, “Andrew Tyrie and his colleagues on the Commons select committee are right to flag-up these very real concerns regarding this tyrannical plan. 

“This proposal of giving the tax authority the unprecedented power to dip into bank accounts without a court order is a clear example of government overreach.”

“The idea that HMRC will be acting as judge and jury is deeply concerning, especially when it freely admits that millions of people are routinely ordered to pay the wrong amount of tax.

“Under these rules there is worrying scope for error, fraud and perhaps even an abuse of power.  With the fact that people and firms could have money erroneously removed from their accounts should these plans come into effect, I suspect there will be an increased risk of capital flight as individuals and businesses seek to move their funds out of reach of the UK taxman.”

Approximately 17,000 people a year are expected to be affected by the new plans, which could be introduced in 2015-2016 if approved by Parliament.

And the Freedom Association warns that the move represents regulatory creep, a thin-end of the wedge that could open the door for a state-raid on savings.

HMRC claim that the move will help raise £375m over the next four years from people who owe unpaid tax. “However,” says the Freedom Association, “there have been in the past numerous tax blunders by HMRC over a wide range of tax issues…the thought of the taxman taking incorrect sums of money directly out of bank accounts is horrifying and should be strongly opposed - especially because the practice could apply to those with savings of just £1,000 and above”.

Scot-Buzz has no capital to take flight, but now fears a befuddled taxman muddling us up with ScotBiz, ScotMid, ScotSport, ScotBum…