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The government is to go ahead with its controversial proposal to allow HMRC access to taxpayers’ bank and building society accounts.

The power of direct debt recovery (DRD) will allow the Revenue to take payment of tax and tax credit debts from accounts.

It will have effect from the date of royal assent of the summer Finance Bill 2015, while draft secondary legislation will be published with the bill for consultation.

HMRC will receive an extra three quarters of a million pounds to fund their ongoing fight against tax dodging, the chancellor announced this afternoon.

The move to combat non-compliance and criminal activity was welcomed by the Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC), which represents the taxman’s senior staff members. The union’s president, Tony Wallace, claimed the £750m injection “will yield a significant dividend for the country”.

Almost 51,000 phishing emails were reported to HMRC around 2014’s tax credit season – April to July – marking a 100% rise in the number for the same period the year before, official figures show.

The scam messages frequently offered a refund from a “tax credit office agent”, or included a link to a fake version of the GOV.UK website.

Recipients were often asked to provide bank details or similarly sensitive information. Fraudsters then tried to take money from their victims’ account, or sell the people’s identities to fellow criminals.

HMRC casting net wider, warns legal expert

The Revenue has suspended its notification list of qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes (QROPS), after discovering the inclusion of schemes that do not meet the pension age test.

Payments made by HMRC to informants have hit a record high, according to legal experts.

Tax whistleblowers netted £605,000 in the year ended 31 March 2015, up from £402,000 over the previous 12 months.

The rise was driven in part by a surge in public awareness about the Revenue’s efforts to track down evaders, leading to more individuals alerting the department to possible fraud by former employers or ex-partners, said said City law firm RPC.

Tax officials will cancel penalties for late self assessment returns that have since been submitted their return with a reasonable excuse, HMRC have confirmed.

The Revenue’s director-general of personal tax, Ruth Owen, told BBC Radio 4’s Money Box programme that there had been a change in department policy, meaning most taxpayers’ excuses would be accepted at face value rather than be submitted to inquiry.

The government has seen a dramatic rise in the number of taxpayers facing scrutiny through a special initiative dedicated to combatting tax evasion.

A total of 6,051 individuals and businesses were referred to HMRC’s managing serious defaulters (MSD) programme in 2014/15, up 31% on the previous year’s 4,624, according to official figures released following a freedom of information request by accountancy group Baker Tilly.

The numbers show growth of 423% between 2013/14 and 2012/13 (1,094).

Globetrotting businesspeople are increasingly under scrutiny from HMRC, with no sign of a let-up in the near future, according to legal experts.

There has been a 29% rise in the number of tax probes into globally mobile high earners in the past year, City law firm PC has reported. The Revenue’s personal tax international compliance unit investigated 764 cases during 2014/15, up from 593 in 2013/14 and 438 in 2012/13.

HMRC have curbed their use of private debt-collectors by half, according UHY Hacker Young.

Research by the accountancy group shows the Revenue spent £6.8m on retrieving money through third-parties in 2014, compared with a record £14.8m in 2013.

“Debt collection agencies are rarely the most appropriate way for HMRC to collect unpaid taxes,” said Mark Giddens, head of UHY Hacker Young London’s private client department

PAC also critical of reliefs cost data

Plan revived to tackle offshore evasion

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