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Law: Tax raids on homes cancelled

Revenue & Customs plans to make surprise raids on taxpayers’ private addresses have been dropped.

In its latest consultation document, issued on Thursday, the Revenue has capitulated on this point after pressure from professional bodies.

Another proposal – to pay tax by credit card for the first – has been slated by consumer groups.

This will encourage debt burdens, they say.

Some of the original ideas published in October – although anticipated by tax practitioners – were roundly condemned.

The main purpose of the exercise is to seek an extension of the tax authority’s powers.

The Revenue is also looking for a range of penalties for any failures to comply by business and personal taxpayers.

The package issued by the Revenue last week includes three documents.

The first looks at payment, repayment and debt and proposes changes to the statutory framework that allows the tax authority to collect tax debts and ensure that taxpayers pay what they owe.

The second contains proposals on compliance checks and puts forward suggestions for a new framework for the Revenue to check that taxpayers are paying the right amount of tax and claiming the right amount of repayments.

The third paper – a civil penalties document - summarises proposals for extending the new statutory framework in Finance Act 2007 for charging civil penalties to all other taxes, levies and duties that the taxman is responsible for, except for tax credits.

Tax rules on late-night taxis eased

The tax rules on claiming for late night taxis have been made easier.

The tax authority, the Revenue & Customs, introduced new rules in August which were attacked by employees as being too restrictive.

In the past, the Revenue said, employers were bending the rules.

They treated all journeys as complying with the rule that up to 60 late night taxis journeys a year were tax free, irrespective of the actual conditions in the law.

The Revenue’s has issued new guidance which runs to three pages rather than a couple of paragraphs as it used to provide.

Once boiled down, there will be no tax charge if:

  • the journey is work to home,
  • it is made as a result of the employee having to work later than usual – until at least 9pm,
  • public transport is either unavailable/very slow at that time, or something/circumstances makes travel on public transport at that time of day unreasonable/unviable for the particular employee,
  • the number of such journeys for which a taxi has been provided for that employee in the tax year is no more than 60.

    The key part for employers is to keep a record that the journey was unusual.

    This could be difficult. The Revenue says it will come down hard on companies which break the rules.

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