BEWARE! Big Brother Is Coming To Check You’re Paying Your Taxes

Web browsing, email records, even your social media accounts. Big Brother is going to be watching you to make sure you’re paying your taxes with the launch of a new ‘super computer’

Her Maj’s Revenue and Customs are set to unleash a new ‘super computer’ which claims to identify ANYONE who is paying too little tax.

The ‘Connect’ system uses information from a whole host of government and corporate sources to create a profile of a tax payers income, instead of relying on the word of the tax payer themselves.

When the information differs, your account will be flagged as a potential tax dodger and you could be subjected to further investigation from the taxman.

Anyone who needs to change their underwear, please do so now.

If not, read on!

What the heck is Connect?

An expensive mo-fo costing £100m to build, it has been years in the making.

But the astronomical cost is already paying dividends, with the tax dodger catcher already used to target those who may have underpaid tax on their savings income.

10,000 letters went out from HMRC last month to individuals who submitted tax returns for 2014/15, which it suspected hadn’t declared all the savings interest they had received that year.

HMRC used information form a number of sources including banks, per-to-peer lenders like Zopa and other financial institutions, cross referencing this information with the taxpayers own tax return to discover any discrepancies.

What can HMRC discover about you?

This is where it gets a bit Big Brother, with the colour of your socks pretty much the only thing they won’t know.

The data that Connect uses is not limited to income from work and investments, it also takes information from other departments and digital footprints we leave when using the internet.

Connect broadly deals with information spontaneously available in Government departments or as part of the digital footprint that people leave when they use the internet. We all leave a massive electronic footprint of where we are, when we are away, what we do and what we spend. – George Bull, senior tax partner at RSM an auditing firm.

Here is what Big Brother – apologies – the taxman can find out about you to see if you’re paying your taxes:

Earnings

HMRC can find out what you have earned from an employer, which includes those you have worked for casually, or sporadically.

This information also includes any company benefits you receive to make sure you’re paying your taxes on EVERYTHING from company cars, to meals out.

Other taxes

HMRC can check out how much Council Tax you have paid, relevant VAT registration, previous tax investigations into you, as well as last years tax return.

Visa and MasterCard transactions

Anonymised information on any of your payments can and will be supplied to HMRC, which can look into details of transactions where it deems it necessary for its investigations.

Land registry

This is what helps HMRC to check the property a tax payer has bought, and if they’ve paid the correct amount of stamp duty on it.

Using this information, HMRC can check if someone can afford their properties, or if they could be using some previously undeclared income or savings they had stashed away.

They also use this information to check if properties are being rented out and whether or not that income was declared.

DVLA

The DVLA department shares information about the details of cars purchased and owned by individuals, which could trigger suspicion about income that hasn’t been declared.

UK and overseas accounts

HMRC has been able to get financial information from British overseas territories such as the Channel Islands since September 2016.

This year it has extended it’s reach to over 60 countries.

Online marketplaces

HMRC can gain access to websites such as eBay, Gumtree and Airbnb to smoke out regular online traders who are making money without declaring it as an income.

Social media

Nothing is out of the reach of Connect.

It will be scouring through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which may reveal more about your spending habits, which could indicate you have more money than you’ve been letting on.

Shut the French doors!

Web browsing and email records

The ‘Snoopers Charter’, as it is fast becoming known, will allow HMRC to access even more personal information about us.

The new legislation means that telecom providers store customers’ web browsing and emails for a year at the very least.

It is sat there available for the government to access whenever it sees fit.

Final word

With all this information it’s a wonder they’ve managed to miss so much in tax owed by celebrity tax dodgers, or, why so many of us get a tax rebate every year.

Who knows?

But one thing is for certain, Big Brother is watching YOU and he’s making sure you’re paying your taxes!!

Thinking Thrifty

David Jack Taylor is the founder and editor of the Thinking Thrifty blog. An award winning personal finance and lifestyle blogger, he shows how it is possible to live extremely well for less.
Thinking Thrifty
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2 thoughts on “BEWARE! Big Brother Is Coming To Check You’re Paying Your Taxes

  1. A lot of people will moan about this, but as long as you’re doing nothing wrong, I don’t understand why it matters. As long as the information is only going to be used to check if my tax/earnings are correct or not, then it’s fine.

    1. I completely agree on the having nothing to hide, no issue mentality, although snooping into social media does seem a bit too much.

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