Wales politics

Tax crime investigation powers for new authority 'proportionate'

A HMRC raid
Image caption HMRC has criminal powers to investigate fraud and tax evasion

Wales' new tax authority should have the power to raid premises and seize information to pursue evaders, the finance secretary has said.

From April 2018, the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA) will collect and manage landfill disposals tax and a land transaction tax, replacing stamp duty.

Mark Drakeford has launched consultation on its criminal powers.

However, he said powers for the WRA to arrest and detain people are "not seen to be necessary or proportionate".

The new taxes replace equivalents currently collected by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

'Deterring' evaders

Launching the consultation on Monday, Mr Drakeford said: "The effective collection of taxes is vital to fund the public services we all rely on.

"To protect these services, it is important we have a tax system that is fair - making it easy for people to pay the right amount of tax at the right time, while tackling and deterring those who seek to evade paying tax."

Mr Drakeford added that the proposals "recognise that the WRA will not have the range of tax responsibilities discharged by HMRC".

"The consultation therefore carefully calibrates the proposed powers for the WRA and suggests a narrower set than those available to HMRC," he said.

"For example, powers of arrest and detention are not proposed for the WRA as they are not seen to be necessary or proportionate.

"However, powers to gain entry to premises and seize information relating to tax crime are."

The consultation is open until October.

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