Big brother is watching!

What does the taxman know about you, your finances and your lifestyle?

HMRC’s has an impressive and very efficient new software called “Connect”.  Connect is used to scour  vast databanks of personal and commercial information, seeking to unearth links between individual taxpayers and businesses, income, assets and transactions in a hunt for underpaid tax.   It then matches its findings against the information the taxpayer has provided through their return. Discrepancies are flagged and could prompt a tax investigation.  The searches take just seconds and are undertaken repeatedly to capture new information.

More than a billion items of data from 30 sources can currently be accessed by Connect, such as the Land Registry or DVLA, bank information, pension information, credit card transactions, as well as a growing number of private businesses or trade associations, and even patrolling eBay activity to catch traders rather than hobbyists and Facebook to catch careless talk for evidence of spending, travel, or ownership of property and other assets.

From next year Connect’s powers will extend further still as it goes global with access to data in a further 60 countries (as well as British overseas territories such as the Channel Islands).

(Is anyone else thinking of Skynet from the Terminator series? We all know what went wrong there!)

There are some reservations about the program.  There is (as always with data) a possibility that some of the data could be erroneous or incomplete, as well as the slight unease many people have about so much personal information being available to Government officials  (who isn’t just a little bit wary about Big Brother?)  But it has been an extremely successful tool so far, identifying more than £3 billion in undeclared tax, and with so much money invested in its development, you can be sure if it here to stay.

How times have changed from the old pre- Self Assessment system when HMRC would  tell you what you owe. These days it is up to the taxpayer to declare what s/he should be paying.

As HMRC now has the means to check that what you’re saying is complete and correct, do be sure it is accurate…

<Oct 2018>
MTWTFSS
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Oct 18

No events today
I know Dodd & Co have clients all over the country and beyond but the firm’s home is Cumbria. Cumbria is very special, not just because of the beautiful countryside but because of the people who live and work here. Dodd & Co are at the heart of our communities, raising funds and as volunteers and working as trustees in many local organisations. I often attend the County Young Farmers AGM and enjoy the young farmers’ banter with their county treasurer Rob Wharton. Thank you Dodd & Co - your support makes a real difference to the Cumbria Community Foundation and the people we serve.
-- Andy Beeforth OBE