Amid the news on global terrorism this week one role has been forgotten - that of the taxman.
Recent announcements by the government do suggest, however, this may change radically in future, and subsequently impose a unique new dynamic on the relationship between financial adviser, accountant or tax lawyer and clients.
The first issue is the agreement hammered out at EU level on the introduction of additional biometric-based identity checks governing travel in the union.
On the face of it, the changes appear to be about checking people boarding aeroplanes, yet it remains to be seen just how national governments interpret this new level of co-operation across borders in terms of domestic implementation.
How long, for example, before HM Treasury or HM Revenue & Customs decides to dip into this data to determine just who is flying where, and whether that tallies with days claimed abroad per year?
Or, how long before the policy is used to support renewed efforts to introduce ID cards, which are then required before accessing certain financial services?
Introducing these additional security measures also raises the issue of just how it will all be funded, and that takes the debate into an area still subject to relatively few questions.
For the total cost of all the new anti-terror policies introduced so far, and no doubt set to be introduced in future, is a point that has hitherto been glossed over.
The policies being put in place not only demand a huge increase in manpower and other resources, suggesting a direct wage cost issue for central and local government, but there is also an enormous opportunity cost to bear in mind.
Just how great that opportunity cost is is illustrated by the suggestions airlines are considering suing the UK government and airport operators for hundreds of millions of pounds because of the flights cancelled and other losses incurred in the past week alone.
Extrapolate those sums to the timeframe of a 10, 20 or even 30-year “war” and it becomes abundantly clear national finances may never regain the golden period they have just been through – assuming in 30 years’ time climate change has really started to bite.
The war analogy is just because this is how it is being spun for us, the public.
Thus, if the “war” on terror truly exists, then the government will have to come clean at some point about just how it intends to pay for said war.
Issuing debt is one way. But the only people who seem to be buying these days are Britons themselves as the global government debt market is awash with dollar-denominated paper being bought mainly by Asian investors.
The other way is to increase the tax burden on people in the UK, and there has been some evidence this is inevitable, unless the government intends to cut back on other areas of expenditure such as schools, hospitals, etc, which does not seem likely.
Consider the recent news indicating the government is proposing to give tax inspectors working in HMRC the same powers as customs officers to enter residential and commercial premises, conduct searches without warrants, and seize assets on a whim.
Consider too the government’s other front in its own war on non-taxpayers, that is, its efforts to date to secure access to bank accounts held by Britons offshore.
In both cases, not so subtle hints are regularly dropped through background briefings that the HM Treasury stands to gain billions of pounds in additional revenues were it allowed more freedom to 'smash-and-grab' the wealth of individuals.
Pulling together the various bits of knowledge on the government’s intentions it seems increasingly inconceivable HMRC - under the guidance of HM Treasury - will maintain its tax revenue collection activities as per normal when all other departments, executive agencies and Quangos have been roped into collaborating to produce a more impressive front in the so-called "war on terror".
So far, the financial services sector has remained relatively untouched by the unrelenting drive to increase control over individual’s lives in the name of maintaining national security, perhaps because of government fears about the risk of capital flight were the UK to proceed with more stringent rules relative to other countries.
It remains to be seen whether functions such as providing financial advice and/or tax-specific advice will be faced with a “are you with us or against us?” scenario in regards to providing information on clients far beyond what has previously existed by way of, for example, anti-money laundering regulations.
In the meantime, however, the evidence available strongly suggests an ever-tightening tax revenue noose against which there will be little defence if it is painted as a sacrificial need to ensure the future of the nation.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Jonathan Boyd on 020 7484 9769 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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