Archive for August 2014

HMRC Direct Recovery Powers – sign the petition

You may have heard that there are proposals out from Government / HMRC to grant HMRC a so-called “direct recovery” power.

In essence this would allow HMRC to debit a tax payers bank account for any unpaid tax arrears, without oversight or prior notice. There would be a stipulation that the bank balance must remain at a minimum £5,000 after the debit so as not to dip into people’s business working capital or immediate household funds, but that’s more or less the only safeguard.

These proposals cover business and personal tax debts.

Many people are very worried about these proposals. HMRC already have powers to achieve the same end via the Courts, Direct Recovery cuts out that element of oversight and due process. It could be argued its “efficiency” for HMRC, or from an opposite perspective laziness.

The accounting profession has major concerns over HMRCs administrative capability – simply there are too many erroneous assessments, mistakes and misallocations – and the bottom line is many feel this is a step to far with HMRCs powers.

There is a longer article about some of the problems on the Taxation web site (you should be able to read this without a login) and a petition on the Government e-petitions web site.

Can I urge people to consider their response to this issue and

  1. Sign the petition
  2. Highlight the issue to colleagues, family and friends (feel free to share this post)
  3. Consider a letter of objection to your MP

This post first appeared at Whitefield Tax on August 21st.

A visit to the Cornershop

It wouldn’t be unfair to say that I am a cultural philistine. I can look at the works of the great artists such as Constanble, Turner et al and appreciate that they have something but they do nothing for me. On the other hand something like Tracey Emin’s unmade bed just makes me think WTF? In short I don’t bother going to art galleries because I’d be bored senseless and just want to leave very quickly.

As anyone who follows Mark Sparrow on twitter (or read this post by Anna – or any of the other publicity) will know by now, his daughter, Lucy, has, for the month of August, been manning a cornershop in East London stuffed full of things you might find in any other cornershop. But with one small difference: all the items on display are made of felt and put together by Lucy herself.

I first found about this when, having asked Mark if he’d like to meet for lunch on my way back from the West Country on August 1st, he blew me off having realised it co-incided with the grand opening. (No, Mark, I won’t tell Lucy you initially agreed and then had to back out once you’d remembered. :D)

My curisoity peaked, I finally found some time to walk over there after work one day nd have a nose around. As you do, I took some pictures as well.

All the news that is fit to felt

If you looked at the pictures, I expect you can realise that Lucy has certainly put in a lot of effort to produce this. Something like 6 months or so I believe and the end result is certainly a testiment to this. Philistine that I am, I can appreciate this even if I’m baffled as to why. :)