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September 29, 2006

Inland Revenue Immunity

Isn't this lovely?

Neil Martin faces bankruptcy and losing his home because of an error by the taxman. He has been told the law can do nothing. The taxman is not liable for his mistakes even when he seriously disadvantages customers, a judge ruled yesterday.

The Inland Revenue screws things up, the court finds that they did indeed screw things up and so now a business and an individual go bankrupt.

The remedy? Sweet fuck all.

The bureaucrats swan off into the evening gloam, index linked pensions intact. Might we start to believe that power is unfairly distributed here? That perhaps the State, our servant, has accumulated just that little bit too much to itself?

September 29, 2006 in Your Tax Money at Work | Permalink


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» Inland Revenue cocks up, causing a bankruptcy but is not liable for its mistakes from Magna Carta Plus News
Hat Tip: Tim Worstall Another example of how unaccountable the various organs of the British state can be, in this case the Inland Revenue which is apparently immune from prosecution and therefore cannot be held liable for its mistakes. From this rep... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 22, 2006 7:42:32 PM


Slightly offtrack, Tim but in 'the 70s I was working for Customs and Excise in exports and there was a dispute in which I made a mistake and held up shipping at the wharf. The report exonerated and praised me and vilified the agents. I resigned from the dept. six months later and joined the opposition - the shipping agents.

Posted by: james higham | Sep 29, 2006 9:58:24 AM

I particularly like this bit:

The Revenue had argued that, had Mr Martin won, it would have opened the floodgates to thousands of claims from businesses and individuals who believed that they had been disadvantaged.

Diddums. If there are thousands of people who have been disadvantaged, why should HMRC not hear their claims?

Posted by: Jock | Sep 29, 2006 10:04:12 AM

The response that Jock highlights reminds me of the exchange in "Yes, Minister":

Humphrey: It would set a dangerous precedent, Minister.

Hacker: You mean, if we do the right thing today, we might have to do the right thing again tomorrow?

Posted by: Alan Peakall | Sep 29, 2006 2:22:35 PM

It's answered a question I've been puzzling over "What could Mr Cameron promise that might persuade me to vote for the Conservatives next time?". Bingo: to make the State and its minions subject to the same laws as the rest of us.

Posted by: dearieme | Sep 29, 2006 3:39:15 PM

Mr Martin might, sadly, have no directly beneficial remedy for his particular problem. However, a case against the IR&C, or whatever they call themselves now, with punative damages to charity (the Government obviously not being worthy to receive damages against itself), might make something of a point.

Best regards

Posted by: Nigel Sedgwick | Sep 30, 2006 12:40:38 AM