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HMRC powers of entry to be replaced

28 Nov 2014

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has confirmed that five of its powers of entry into premises will have to be reviewed or replaced, following a report commissioned by Chancellor George Osborne.

The ‘HMRC's Power of Entry Review’ was intended to examine whether the powers of the tax authority were proportionate and necessary, and was commissioned under the requirements of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

It looked into 39 powers, mostly related to the customs and excise regimes, such as powers to enter places of importation or premises suspected to be involved with illegal bookmaking or alcohol production. Of those 39, the review found that nine in fact belonged to other departments or refer only to powers of inspection, not entry.

Of the 30 remaining, three need to be replaced entirely. These related to powers to enter any premises used for the purpose of general betting or pool betting; to facilitate entry to any track or other premises suspected of carrying out bookmaking activities on events taking place; and to apply for a break-open warrant granted by a Justice of the Peace for the purposes of levying distraint under the Social Security Administration Act 1992.

Two other powers, both related to break-open warrants, needed to be amended.