Dear HMRC, our tax details should not be for sale

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tax or taxes concept with word on business folder index


'Borderline insane' was the reaction to news that the government is looking at selling off personal information tax information to private companies - but that reaction is putting it mildly.

Outright dangerous and a total disgrace is how I would put it.

HM Revenue & Customs is currently drawing up new laws that would give it the power to sell anonymised details to third party private companies, public bodies and research companies.

The move was called 'borderline insane' by Conservative MP David Davis as fears about privacy abound.

The fact is that all of us are required by law to pay tax and provide information to HMRC about out tax affairs and we do this on the understanding that the information we provide is used by HMRC for tax purposes, for this purpose only.

For HMRC to say it is now planning in changing the rules in a covert and sneaky way is disgraceful.

Imagine the wrath you would feel if you tried to skirt HMRC's rules, but the taxman feels it is OK to completely move the goal posts without any public consultation or agreement - which it is certainly not going to get.

Aside from being rather unfair, surely this a confidentiality and even human rights issue. You cannot force someone to hand get information that you then make money from.

Treasury minister David Gauke has tried to placate us with talk of anonymised details being passed over but that doesn't make it any better in my opinion. Surely we have had enough government data slip ups to be concerned about the anonymised data accidentally including all our names, telephone numbers and shoe size, let alone our financial and tax details. I get enough calls and texts offering me PPI and compensation for accidents I've never had, I can't think what phone calls I'd get of my finances fell into the wrong hands.

If the government is going to go ahead with this ludicrous plan then I at least want the option of opting out of my details being shared - you even get that much of an option when signing up for a Tesco Clubcard and it still knows a frightening amount of information about my shopping habits.

The plan represents a dangerous creep on our right to privacy and confidentiality. If we can't trust the government to provide this then just who can we trust?

Five biggest taxpayer stings

Five biggest taxpayer stings