The Law Society is not satisfied that amendments to government proposals on direct recovery of debt provide adequate safeguards against HMRC misusing its powers

Law Society tax law committee chair Gary Richards said: “We agree that tax that is due must be paid, but HMRC’s existing powers – if properly used – are sufficient.

“While a guaranteed face-to-face meeting has been branded by the government as a safeguard against HMRC abusing its powers, it offers no real protection as the proposed legislation does not make the meetings a statutory requirement.

“HMRC has improved its proposals, but the new provisions still mean that HMRC can stop taxpayers accessing their money before a judge has agreed that HMRC’s actions are warranted.”

The Law Society and other organisations raised objections to direct recovery of debt - taking money from people’s bank accounts - last summer, on the basis that the vulnerable would be hit the hardest. The draft legislation does not go far enough to protect those people, who may have what appear to be sufficient bank deposits but use them to fund high quality personal or social care.