“Taxpayers Charter”

In the mid 1980’s when I was first setting out in the profession there was a “tax payer charter” and it had some teeth.

The charter set out the purposes by which the HM Inland Revenue (now of course merged and rebranded HM Revenue & Customs “HMRC”) would deal with taxpayers and in respect of which they could be held to account.

This involved treating everyone the same and with respect (at least to your fine!)

This soon became a constant thorn in HMRC’s side, a constant niggle, a constant fetter on their freedom of action.

It was replaced with a non binding document in the 1990’s, which was so much of an irrelevance that I not once quoted it back to the Revenue.

HMRC now have in their locker the perfect excuse for not doing the right thing.

Often quoted is the European Convention on Human Rights to justify not making concessions,

“if we do it for “your client” we have to do it for everyone!”

Yes well perhaps when something is wrong all tax payers should benefit from the wrong being righted.

There is now for the first time there is a statutory obligation for the Revenue to write and review a new charter but it is taking ages to get any common ground between the profession and HMRC.

Is it any surprise that there appears to be a dragging of Revenue heals to agree a charter to limit their powers especially their new powers of inspection and investigation.

We can only hope that some common sense is applied even this late in the day and a charter with some teeth emerges to set a proper balance between Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs and the tax payer.

The charter has to be up and running by the end of the year.

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