HMRC has been condemned for causing distress and emotional trauma to families by using enforcement tactics, which have included the use of eight private debt collection companies.
An investigation by The Times has revealed that HMRC Revenue officials have written to families struggling to settle bills during the pandemic and threatened to “take things you own and sell them”.
Letters have been sent accusing people on low incomes of “deliberately” choosing not to pay taxes. The letters warn them that officials “can take money directly from your bank or business society accounts”.
These enforcement tactics, which have included the use of eight private debt collection companies, have been condemned for causing “distress” and “emotional trauma”.
In some cases, however, the arrears are the result of HMRC errors.
The investigation by The Times also found that:
* Since 2014 HMRC has passed on 4.5 million personal records to private debt collectors without taxpayers’ specific consent and they are incentivised to maximise takings.
* The debt-collection companies have used the pandemic as a means of pressing people to pay, writing that “Covid-19 has damaged the economy” and tax is needed “to fund the NHS”.
* Debt collectors working with the government department have chased cancer patients and care home staff.
HMRC uses private companies to chase tax debts relating to issues such as credit overpayments and miscalculations on self-assessments.
ExcludedUK is a non profit grassroots NGO founded to provide a platform for those denied fair and adequate financial support from the Governments COVID-19 Support schemes since the pandemic began in March. With a community of over 60,000 members across all industries, age groups and regions, we estimate that three million UK tax payers have been excluded from the same support as others, which has lead to thousands of people losing their livelihoods, careers, and homes, and sadly, for some, their lives.
ExcludedUK has been fundraising to provide urgent help and support for those affected in the forms of business and career advice, debt support and 121 counselling sessions within 48 hours. Please find more information on our website www.excludeduk.org.