The Affiliation of Taxation Technicians (ATT) thinks that HMRC’s publication of a brand new session at the moment is much too necessary a topic to be left simply to the tax neighborhood due to the vast scope and influence of a possible ‘Enterprise Census’.
The session proposes choices for considerably extending the vary of information which HMRC can acquire from companies and taxpayers after which each use inside HMRC and share with different authorities departments.
Areas of information thought-about throughout the session embrace enterprise sectors, the occupation of staff and the self-employed, the situation of companies and staff, the hours labored by staff and the dividends paid to shareholders in owner-managed companies. The session seeks opinions on which areas needs to be prioritised. In some circumstances, the main target is on bettering the standard of information already held; in others it extends HMRC’s entitlement to knowledge which is presently not collected.
Jon Stride, Vice-Chair of ATT’s Technical Steering Group, stated: “This session deserves critical consideration and it’s far too necessary to be left to only tax boffins. Relatively worryingly, it has been launched as a Stage 2 session that means that it has skipped the crucial first stage of setting out goals for public debate. Its focus due to this fact is on figuring out one of the best choices slightly than on exploring the deserves of making what seems in impact like a rolling Enterprise Census.
“On the plus aspect, it’s straightforward to grasp that the info in query might be actually helpful in supporting the Authorities’s levelling up agenda and focusing on sources and insurance policies. On the identical time, any extra administrative burden on companies, with the potential for penalties for non-compliance, must be justified. There’ll should be a transparent understanding of the makes use of to which the knowledge can and can’t be put and of which different authorities departments could have entry to the info.
“The proposals contain important modifications to HMRC’s knowledge assortment and sharing powers. We’re notably eager to make sure that these powers are balanced by applicable safeguards for companies and people. These safeguards would want to incorporate provisions for difficult knowledge which was incorrect or was being misinterpreted. We may also need to see nicely designed publicity prematurely of the implementation of any modifications – which we perceive wouldn’t be earlier than 2024.
“We’ll mirror these and different issues in our response to the session, however we actually hope that almost all of responses will probably be submitted by those that can be obliged to take part within the proposed Enterprise Census.
“Individually to any issues concerning the specific proposal, I must make the purpose that HMRC are actually struggling to deal with lots of their key capabilities – coping with correspondence, repayments, phone calls, and so on. Taking up a serious data-based undertaking earlier than acceptable ranges of efficiency have been achieved after which sustained would solely put HMRC’s scarce sources beneath extra stress. We’ll make this level in our response to the session.”