Money alert: HMRC's tax snatch from your bank account

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The Independent Online

Plans allowing the taxman to reclaim money directly from people's bank accounts have been attacked this week. HMRC wants powers to take money from any account, including Isas and joint accounts, if they believe someone owes taxes.

But such powers "would be wholly unacceptable", MPs warned. The Treasury Select Committee said: "The ability directly to have access to millions of taxpayers' bank accounts raises concerns about the risk of fraud and error."

In the Budget George Osborne said HMRC would be granted powers to recover tax debts from anyone who owes more than £1,000 in tax or in tax credits.

This week, HMRC said 17,000 people, who typically owe an average of £5,800 in tax, would be affected by the new rules and that it expects to seize £375m over the next four years.

But MPs demanded a "lengthy and full consultation". Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie said: "Some taxpayers may find money taken from their accounts that later should be paid back. That would be unacceptable."

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