Wondrous, just wondrous, from you know who

As some will have noticed, I have been critical of George Osborne’s plans for new tax penalties over the weekend.

OK, so what has Gideon proposed? Essentially, that the current law be changed from one where they have to prove intent to dodge tax by not declaring an account to a strict liability offence. You didn’t declare an account to you’re guilty matey.

This is the proposal that Ritchie has been arguing against. What’s his proposal?

Let me offer an obvious solution. I would require that a tax return should demand that a tax payer disclosed all their bank accounts. This is, if course, just about the first information always demanded in a tax investigation so it is important. Most of us don’t have many. And it’s not hard to list them all. Then it becomes a relatively simple matter to prosecute someone for failing to disclose a bank account if that is appropriate. No intent need be proven: it’s error that could trigger the penalty.

That Gideon should change the law to what Gideon has just said he wants to change the law to.

10 comments on “Wondrous, just wondrous, from you know who

  1. Oh Tim, did you really not notice the dash of Special Totalitarian Sauce Richie added? Under Gideon, it would be an offence to fail to declare an account if it is found to be liable for tax. Under Richie, all taxpayers must notify the courageous state whenever they open a new account, regardless of use…

  2. Under current rules I just have to declare the total taxable interest I receive in two categories (received after deduction of tax, received without tax having been deducted) – under Murphy’s proposal I should have to make a list of every bank account and anyone who overlooks a dormant account (or fails to realise a Tesco Clubcard Plus is an account with Tesco Bank) goes to gaol, even if they have paid tax in full.
    And Murphy omits everyone who doesn’t fill in an individual tax return because they are on PAYE.

  3. Having read Ritchie’s developing theme here, I have a suggestion for you Tim. And for Frances. And Chris. And Matt:

    Try blogging whilst off your tits on Morphine; the results are just amazing!!!!!!

  4. As others are commenting, we are talking about “tax” that is liable, and which arises from “income” (or capital gains, etc). The UK tax return already deals with this.

    A bank account (eg, a current account, not overdrawn) is simply an “asset”. Purely by itself it may no more give rise to a tax liability than owning a painting.

    Is there an implicit suggestion here moving towards a more authoritarian position that all and any assets held must be identified, or is this just false reporting / wishful thinking from the Murph?

  5. @ TMB

    and / or limited companies / other, etc. I agree it is all quite pointless in that sense: they either have to simplify substantially (which they won’t), or accept it’s mainly for show.

  6. @ Tim Newman

    In France all taxpayers have to declare *all* bank accounts of themselves and their household.

    Because they’re socialists and have wealth taxes – therefore the state also needs to know what assets are held?

  7. “Most of us don’t have many. And it’s not hard to list them all.”

    Clearly he isn’t familiar with high-street banks that change account terms often enough that you build up a big collection, with the encouragement of the bank (“switch from your old e-Wizard savings account to our new Titanium account, and save!”). In fact, I thought that was part of the point of the Treasury’s raiding dormant accounts: I suppose if HMRC get into the act, they can take the money, and then complain that you hadn’t told them about the account last tax return.

    More seriously, I wish the focus would return to government over-stretch and waste, rather than these increasingly intrusive schemes for claiming even more of peoples’ money as of right.

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