The U.K. tax authority to allow IRS Levy type actions. If you owe the HMRC, they now have the authority to seize your bank account and raid your assets, just like an IRS levy.
Now, it’s no surprise that the U.K. is following in the footsteps of the mighty IRS levy. It’s just interesting that it took them this long to do so.
I also find it interesting how strong the reaction against what we Americans think of as “normal” has been in England. For example, the primary body of accountants said that the HMRC had a record of making mistakes and should not be allowed to levy without court approval.
In its statement, the HMRC said that these regulations bring it in line with other tax authorities which already have the power to take money debts directly from an individual’s account, just like France and the U.S. Of course, advocacy groups respond saying the U.S. should not be regarded as a role model of what is right and just … just the opposite in fact.
Once interesting caveat of these new “draconian” laws that match the IRS levy system, is that the UK will leave 5,000 pounds in the person’s account so they can afford to pay for basic necessities. If the account holds 15,000, and the debt is 20,000, the U.K. gets to take 10,000.
The IRS levy system has no such requirement. So long as the U.S. IRS can find your account, they can empty it up to the amount of the alleged debt, including interest and penalties.
According to the U.K. Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, these new laws will allow the tax authority to run roughshod over low income persons who prioritize necessary payments over taxes.
“To allow the HMRC to raid their bank accounts without safeguards or recourse to the courts would be to flout the rule of law in a manner unworthy of a public service body. It is not the same as seizing physical goods, it is depriving the debtor of the very means to live. Given the way the HMRC continually fails to deal with taxpayers properly or fairly is hugely worrying. To introduce such draconian measures without proper safeguards could well lead to an abuse of power.”
This is exactly what we Americans have been dealing with for decades … a government agency who offers horrendous customer service, fails to deal with individuals fairly, and can levy your personal and business bank accounts at will … often as the first line of attack and then they negotiate a payment plan. The IRS shoots first and asks questions later.
If the U.K. wants to see what happens when you give one government agency unlimited power to attack its citizenry, just look over the pond at the IRS levy system.