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…

<Feb 2018>
MTWTFSS
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Feb 25

No events today
I had recently finished my VT year and had started ­working as an associate at a practice just outside Aberdeen. I asked several other dentists in the area and the only name people spoke was Dodd & Co. I have been with them for two years now and their ­service has been impeccable. So far everyone I have dealt with has been friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. They have answered every one of my questions promptly (no matter how stupid they may have been) and have given me great advice regarding many aspects of our taxation system. I have had and will have no qualms in recommending them to anyone else in our profession.
-- Stuart Crook