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Business group raises concerns on Government debt recovery


The Forum for Private Business (FPB) has called for the Government to scrap plans for HMRC to recover unpaid debts directly from bank accounts.


The powers, set out in the March 2014 Budget, would allow HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) access to self employed and small business bank accounts, only where it is deemed they have sufficient money to pay.


Alexander Jackman, Head of Policy at the FPB, said: ‘Our members are unequivocal in their condemnation of tax avoidance and the tax evasion practices that have received significant coverage in the media, in particular the practices of large corporates.


‘However, many of our members already feel that they are unfairly targeted by HMRC and these proposals do little to dispel this commonly held belief. The small scope of their operations means many small business owners feel much more vulnerable to investigations than larger firms with more complex tax arrangements’.


The Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has also been critical of the new powers, saying they are ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘wrong in principal’.


In an official statement the ICAEW said: ‘It is necessary to go back a step, to re-think the policy and consult upon the strategies by which HMRC can tackle those who wilfully refuse to pay’.