HMRC access credit card data
With effect from 1 September 2013 new powers allow HMRC to access information from the UK’s merchant acquirers on all credit and debit card payments to UK businesses. These powers allow HMRC to ascertain the number and value of transactions completed by a specific business, backdated for four years.
The first requests for the data are currently been sent and from next year HMRC will request this information annually.
The new powers do not entitle HMRC to access personal data identifying the card owners or card numbers. The data will be used to ensure that businesses have correctly accounted for all taxes due. HMRC will be using its data-mining software, Connect, to cross-reference and compare the data it currently holds to identify tax fraud or evasion. The new powers are expected to reduce fraud by over £50 million per year.
HMRC have also launched an evasion publicity campaign, using a series of targeted advertisements including radio advertising and over 3,000 billboards in public areas.
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said:
‘The Government has given HMRC nearly £1 billion to tackle fraud and evasion, and these new powers give HMRC an extra tool to ensure a level playing field between businesses, and also reducing opportunities for those who try and cheat the system.’