A report published by the Economic Affairs Committee has suggested that HMRC is ‘treating taxpayers unfairly’, and has called for the Revenue’s tax avoidance and evasion powers to be reviewed.
The Committee stated that HMRC is failing to ‘discriminate effectively’ in regard to the full range of behaviours and circumstances it classes as tax avoidance.
The Committee said that a ‘clear difference’ exists between deliberate tax avoidance and ‘naïve decisions’ made by ‘unrepresented’ taxpayers.
‘Clearer distinctions’ are needed in relation to the government’s approach to dealing with tax avoidance, the Committee affirmed.
Commenting on the matter, Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, Chair of the Economic Affairs Committee, said: ‘HMRC is right to tackle tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. However, a careful balance must be struck between clamping down and treating taxpayers fairly.
‘Our evidence has convinced us that this balance has tipped too far in favour of HMRC and against the fundamental protections every taxpayer should expect.’
A government spokesperson responded: ‘We’ve taken unprecedented action to crack down on avoidance and evasion, making sure people pay their fair share of tax and securing funding for our vital public services.’