This Content Was Last Updated on February 9, 2017 by Jessica Garbett


You may have heard that there are proposals out from Government / HMRC to grant HMRC a so called “direct recovery” power.

In essence this would allow HMRC to debit a tax payers bank account for any unpaid tax arrears, without oversight or prior notice. There would be a stipulation that the bank balance must remain at a minimum £5,000 after the debit so as not to dip into peoples business working capital or immediate household funds, but that’s more or less the only safeguard.

These proposals cover business and personal tax debts.

Many people are very worried about these proposals. HMRC already have powers to achieve the same end via the Courts, Direct Recovery cuts out that element of oversight and due process. It could be argued its “efficiency” for HMRC, or from an opposite perspective laziness.

The accounting profession has major concerns over HMRCs administrative capability – simply there are too many erroneous assessments, mistakes and misallocations – and the bottom line is many feel this is a step to far with HMRCs powers.

There is a longer article about some of the problems on Taxations web site: (you should be able to read this without a login)

and a petition on the Government e-petitions web site:

Can I urge people to consider their response to this issue and

(a)          Sign the petition

(b)          Highlight the issue to colleagues, family and friends (feel free to share this email)

(c)           Consider a letter of objection to your MP.