UK Liberty

Watching you at home

Posted in law and order, state-citizen relationship, surveillance society by ukliberty on March 16, 2008

The Press Association:

Tax inspectors are to be given powers to make unannounced visits to homes to see tax records.

The new rules, to come in to force in April next year, will target taxpayers and not just big business, if it is suspected that money is owed.

The changes follow on from the recent merger of Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise.

The Daily Mail reported that Revenue and Customs analysis done in 2005 suggests up to £23.4 billion alone was lost on income tax, capital gains tax and national insurance. The document is believed to be the first official analysis of the “tax gap”.

Tax dodging reportedly costs each British household £1,600.

But Revenue and Customs said the analysis was unreliable as it was subject to high margins of error due to lack of data.

A spokesman said the changes were part of a review of Customs powers, aligning them with those which VAT officers have when they visit premises.

He said: “Officers will have the right to make unannounced visits … In practice it’s something that is going to happen very rarely.”

He said that in “99.9%” of cases an appointment would be made.

“It’s making sure that everybody has the same powers,” he said. “It’s nothing draconian.”

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