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HMRC 'to raid bank accounts'

People who refuse to pay their taxes could have their bank accounts directly raided by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) under new plans.The idea is among proposals made in a consultation document published by the tax body last month that would allow tax collectors to bypass court orders.HMRC make 400,000 visits to people to collect unpaid taxes, with more than 200,000 cases eventually going to court.But amid criticism the plans could see HMRC granted too much power, a spokeswoman said the proposals were just the first-stage of a "long-term" process that would ultimately lead to legislation.She said it was just "one of the ideas" being proposed to combat the "small numbers who can pay who don't want to pay"."It is in everyone's interest if those who owe tax pay on time," a statement elaborated. "This consultation asks for views on proposals designed to make it easier and cheaper for taxpayers to do so."The statement went on to insist that HMRC "supports those who want to pay but find themselves temporarily unable to do so"."But it is then only fair that it pursues the minority who delay payment for a significant time so that they do not gain an advantage over the compliant," it concluded.HMRC's consultation closes on September 17th later this year.

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