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HMRC’s ‘Big Brother’ system targets tax debts

HMRC is using special powers to recover unpaid bills directly from wage packets and pensions, reports Harry Brennan in the Telegraph. He says figures uncovered by a probe into the tax office’s most extreme enforcement methods show that HMRC has bankrupted almost 15,000 taxpayers and businesses over unpaid bills since 2016. It has also threatened to take possessions from more than a quarter of a million people and sell them to cover debts. While debt collectors have confronted almost two million people in pursuit of arrears, HMRC has seized hundreds of thousands of pounds from taxpayers by taking money straight out of bank accounts. Mr Brennan says that with tax debts soaring, HMRC is recovering money by deducting cash directly from salaries and pension incomes, using a digital system known as "coding out". The taxman forcibly changed the tax codes of 134,000 debtors and docked money from their wages to recover more than £54m in unpaid bills last year, up from fewer than 74,000 the year before.


The Daily Telegraph (15/05/2021)

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