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Budget 2013 - The hidden detail

Yesterday's Budget speech failed to highlight impending changes to the power of HMRC's data-gathering powers.

The increase in powers will hit Britain's retailers as HMRC will be able to demand payment details from card payment processors. They will have to provide information about credit, debit, and charge card sales made by retailers. This will include the retailer's name, address, VAT number if available, and bank account details

HMRC will use this information to cross check against VAT registrations and business income declared on tax returns. It will not identify the details of the credit or debit card holder, just the total sales made by particular businesses in each month. Any business that relied on card payment facilities should be aware that their business transactions could be being monitored without their knowledge.

The hidden legislation in the Budget was uncovered by Simon Massey, tax partner at accountancy firm Menzies LLP.

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