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Criticism Follows Perceived Power Grab by HMRC

RPC has criticized HMRC saying they've failed to use the powers it already has and is now pursuing further powers, citing Conduct notices as an example.

Their a powerful weapon those conduct notices. They use them bring tax evading “high risk” promoters into submission and can further be used to impose more terms they'll have no choice but to comply with.

The last time these were used as common practice, however, was some time in the year 2014. Since that year fewer than five were issued deeming the power just about useless.

Conduct notices can lead to serious penalties. Most people assume since they haven't been used however, their necessity has simply died out. The penalty they could incur amounts anywhere from £5,000 and £1 million in penalties for failure to comply. There's also no right to appeal. The only way to challenge the penalty is through judicial review, and that's a long shot.

Adviser penalties

All of this occurs just as HMRC is in the process of expanding their powers to include sanctioning tax professionals. This penalty could amount up to the full amount of the tax evaded in such indictments.

It's been argued that parliament would better off making sure these expanded powers are actually needed or if HMRC should simply use the powers it has to enforce its own rules. They should also owe an explanation as to why these already existing powers have endured such neglect over the years before granting them more.

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