Revenue must stop hounding taxpayer

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Is IT any surprise to your readers that our very own Inland Revenue is penalising and persecuting the easy targets of society, rather than invest enough of its well-rewarded time chasing corporation tax from the larger corporations, as well as chasing the income tax of the rich and famous we all read about hiding their money in Swiss bank accounts (your report, 19 December)?

As a company employee 25 of the past 28 years of my working life, like most, I have had the tax deducted from my income at source but it doesn’t end there.

I have been fortunate enough to enjoy a fairly lucrative sales career and into the bargain ungrudgingly paying large sums of income tax and national insurance beyond my control or manipulation.

It seems now, however, that the last three years of my self-employment have highlighted me as an easy target for constant Inland Revenue investigations, the need to invest time I don’t have coming up with historical statistics to prove my innocence over a significant demand due to incompetence of the HMRC individual we are dealing with and an administrative error by one of my previous employers five years ago.

Our legal system states that you are innocent until proven guilty, however our HMRC system seems to be quite the opposite, unjustly sending demands for large sums of cash on the basis that you are guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. My blood boils when you consider the large numbers of people all around us who simply put the cash they earn into their pocket without a thought year in, year out for contributing to the state.

We all see the adverts about the HMRC closing in on undeclared income of tradesmen, taxi drivers etc, but we don’t see any action.

Why not spend this advertising budget on tax collection from the cheats?

If I were a politician trying to win votes for next year I would make this part of the manifesto twofold. 1) clamp down on the immoral cash merchants and; 2) re-align the efforts to stop screwing existing tax payers for more money, and focus on collecting tax and penalising tax avoiders heavily.

There is a huge imbalance of persecution here that needs to be fixed to restore public confidence.

Neill Cooper

Slateford Road

Edinburgh