Now HMRC can access debit and credit card payment data to catch tax evaders

6 September 2013

tax letterYou’ve got to feel a bit sorry for HMRC. Incomes are stagnant or falling, more people are out of work (including fewer HMRC officers) and still they are expected to keep grinding more tax out of people to prop up the Treasury coffers.

The latest bright idea is to marry up debit and credit card data with declared income and profits to catch out traders who omit to disclose all their profits. New powers bequeathed by Government allow HMRC to request access to this data from the UK’s ‘merchant acquirers’, which will give them the value and number of transactions made in favour of any specific trader. This data can then be tied into information reported on tax forms.

So far sounds disturbingly like common sense. The legislation, which took effect on 1 September, allows HMRC to obtain data on card payments to all UK businesses for the previous four years. The first requests for the data will be sent to card companies this week and from next year this will be an annual request.

HMRC say this will “level the playing field” for all businesses and they estimate this could reduce fraud by £50 million per annum.

Whether this does prove such a valuable tool in business remains to be seen- perhaps many evasion-inclined businesses would try and overlook cash payments rather than third-party recorded card payments. However, what would be more scary is if these powers were extended to look at personal purchase histories- the situation where the Revenue are able to call you up and ask you just how you can afford to pre-order a PS4 while on JSA may not be far away…



  • _Me_
    The other one is people with cottage industries that make about 50p a week - they're far better at catching those sort of people than the multi-billion dollar industries that evade tax.
  • Inspector G.
    Hmmm I'm not sure this would be used to find new 'leads' as the data would throw up far too many false positives. My guess is that they will use this data to sure up an already in progress case.
  • What T.
    They're targeting the wrong people - workers. Instead, everyone on benefits should be made to submit all bank and credit card(!) statements and be made to justify any discrepancies. Their houses should be audited for high value items, and any expensive additions should be accounted for with proof of origin. Any attempts to circumvent the inspections would be met with a hefty jail term, or execution. We, as taxpayers, pay their benefits thus we own them. Fucking Tennant's drinkers.
  • Alexis
    Yeah, but then you'd have to employ 10,000 new tax workers to go through it all. The Tories want to pay for 10 tax inspectors, ignore any big business and then seed stories in the press about how they're doing all sorts of stuff to catch people on £100 a week who might or might not be fraudsters.
  • What T.
    ^Do you think they would need that many extra inspectors? It could be a similar system to tax returns at the moment, with random unannounced audits. If the inspectors thought that the benefits scum lifestyles were too grandiose, they could put on the metaphorical latex gloves. When you hear the statistics that certain cities like Liverpool have 30% of workless households, you need to wonder what exactly is being done about it.
  • Tesco's
    Ha! You're fucked now Mr Patel.
  • What T.
    ^You do realise that the plural of Tesco is Tesco? I bet you say Asda's as well, just like all the other fucking imbeciles out there. You probably say Mataland as well, just like a total cretin.
  • Tesco's
    It's like stealing sweets from a baby.
  • What T.
    ^We don't want to hear about your kiddie fiddling.
  • Tesco's
    It's kiddy...
  • Asda's
    Hey tesco's you only needed 1 full stop.
  • Mr. P.
    ^ It's called an ellipsis and, for the record, I am not fucked. At least I pay my taxes and don't exploit the unemployed as slave labour, unlike a certain multinational supermarket who shall remain nameless but it rhymes with "Besco".
  • Tesco's
    Shut it asdas. Nah your alright Patel.
  • Mr. P.
    @ Tesco's Don't tell Jocky Wilson that; I'm putting 4 x Special Brew up 12p on Monday.
  • What T.
    @Tesco's I think you'll find they're interchangeable. You would know about that, certainly.
  • shiftynifty
    What sort of retard can't spell Tennant's ...GTFO ...with your plural (s)
  • amazon s.
    Wow. The comment sections were much better when they involved foxes and bumming. Maybe a few abusive comments to the site owner. Hey! no one has mentioned "erbs" yet?? oh wait.

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