HMRC 'plans to share tax data with private firms'

 
HM Revenue & Customs logo HMRC says further consultation on the plans will take place

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Taxpayers' personal data could be shared with private firms under plans drawn up by Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

If given the go-ahead it would allow HMRC to release anonymous tax data to third parties including companies, researchers and public bodies.

But former Conservative minister David Davis told the Guardian the plans were "borderline insane".

An HMRC spokesman said "no final decisions" had been taken, and it was committed to "confidentiality".

'Defies logic'

The newspaper reported that "charging options" were being examined by officials, suggesting that firms could pay to access the data.

But concern has been raised over the plans in the wake of the Care.data initiative - a proposed anonymous sharing of NHS medical records - which is currently suspended after fears were raised as to exactly what information would remain anonymous.

Start Quote

You would have hoped HMRC would have learned that trying to sneak plans like this under the radar is not the way to build trust or develop good policy”

End Quote Emma Carr Big Brother Watch

Plans to relax the laws around HMRC data-sharing - which are being overseen by Treasury minister David Gauke - were first consulted on in July last year, but HMRC said "further consultations" would also be taking place.

Mr Davis told the Guardian: "The officials who drew this up clearly have no idea of the risks to data in an electronic age.

"Our forefathers put these checks and balances in place when the information was kept in cardboard files, and data was therefore difficult to appropriate and misuse.

"It defies logic that we would remove those restraints at a time when data can be collected by the gigabyte, processed in milliseconds and transported around the world almost instantaneously."

Emma Carr, deputy director of civil rights campaign group, Big Brother Watch, said: "The ongoing claims about anonymous data overlook the serious risks to privacy of individual level data being vulnerable to re-identification.

"Given the huge uproar about similar plans for medical records, you would have hoped HMRC would have learned that trying to sneak plans like this under the radar is not the way to build trust or develop good policy."

'Unlawful disclosure'

A HMRC spokesman said: "HMRC would only share data where this would generate clear public benefits, and where there are robust safeguards in place.

"Last year's consultation made it very clear that there would be a rigorous accreditation process for anyone wanting access to the data and that any access would take place in a secure environment.

"Those accessing data would be subject to the same confidentiality provisions as HMRC staff, including a criminal sanction for unlawful disclosure of taxpayer information."

 

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  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 89.

    If HMRC share my information without my approval, I will sue their asses.

    No more comment needed.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 88.

    More business for the recruitment agencies checking whether CV and resumes are genuine. More excuses to favor foreign, labor - who's tax and employment history won't be available, but not the rich tax avoiders who will have some accountancy loop hole that blocks anyone from viewing their business.

    Tip: When applying for a job pretend to be foreign.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 87.

    No, no, no!!

    This blatantly contravenes everything that is embodied in the Data Protection Act and must be resisted by everyone.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 86.

    I am in total agreement with helious. I am helping an individual who blew the whistle on malpractice in one of this governments favoured contractors. The appear cheaper because of the accounting practices this individual tried to expose. The contractor formed ranks and with no expense spared did a thorough job of discrediting and bankrupting the whistle blower. Not to be trusted

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 85.

    There is something unsavoury about a company wanting to know how much tax people pay, what possible good motive could it have for that?

    NONE

    We have enough of our data shared (even when we tick the box not to have it shared) by companies who collect it and sell it to crooks and cold callers for a quick buck, this idea is obviously just going to facilitate targeting people for criminals.

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 84.

    We are not the customers, we are the product being sold.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 83.

    So does this mean that any and all personal data I have of politicians and other civil servants can be freely disclosed to interested parties too? I mean we are all in this together and our ministers have vowed to set an example to us all. Just another case of bulldinky from an untrustworthy set of self serving criminals.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 82.

    Just imagine how much junk mail we would all receive if this barmy if not illegal plan goes ahead.
    If it dies happen I suggest that all the junk be forwarded to HMRC.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 81.

    A remark that could be extended to all HMRC activities - Lord Justice Sedley said: "Beyond the everyday world … lies the world of VAT; a kind of fiscal theme park in which factual and legal realities are suspended and inverted."

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 79.

    Reveal your source of income...member of armed services? security services ? The manager of the local supermarket or bank (key holder). If you need to raise money or targets for terrorist activities just set up a private company .......easy.

  • rate this
    +45

    Comment number 78.

    More proof that the government just see the public like a chicken battery farm. They would put us in pies if they could make a few extra quid doing it.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 77.

    Has someone at the BBC screwed up?
    Surely this story was meant to have been published on April 1st.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 76.

    Are you worried about your personal data falling into the wrong hands? Where were you when The govt by far the best people to conduct the 2011 census was Lockheed Martin, Americas largest Arms manufacturer, pentagon & NSA insider company . Where were you when we compelled under law to tell them all about us, house by house? Robust procedures? My aunt fanny. Now theyll know where to send the drones

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 75.

    The problem is the government has no track record in this regard

    imagine the government putting all their data together on one insecure database

    why buy data when you can hack it from the government,clone pensions,benefits passports identies bank accounts credit cards etc

    This is a national security nightmare for the UK which could destroy the financial industry in the UK

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 74.

    Effectively and openly sharing with other government agencies would serve everyone's interests far more than this ill-thoughtout act of breathtaking negligence.

  • rate this
    +31

    Comment number 73.

    This government is desperate for money and ideas, it has proven there is still life in the 19th century adage 'the political classes would sell their own grandmothers for a shilling'.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 72.

    The government should not be allowed to get away with selling your personal financial information to the highest bidder. First our personal medical details, now our personal financial details. This government has no concept of privacy for its citizens - any information it has on us is open to sale. I will not vote for any party that agrees to this.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 71.

    This has to be the most irresponsible thing so far dreamed up. This data is and should remain private and any efforts by HMRC to profit from personal data should be nipped in the bud. Given the governments record on data loss i wouldn`t trust them with my washing let along personal data.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 70.

    "If given the go-ahead it would allow HMRC to release anonymous tax data to third parties including companies, researchers and public bodies."

    This will lead to more annoying phone calls offering all kinds of unwanted services. Not a good idea.

 

Page 47 of 51

 

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