As published on thisismoney.co.uk, Saturday 19 September, 2020.
The taxman is being given new powers to seize bank customers' financial details without their consent.
New laws will allow the taxman to demand the information from banks with no need to ask a court or the taxpayer they are chasing.
The new laws in the Finance Bill are designed to help HMRC tackle tax evasion. But the banking industry has warned they risk 'watering down' protections for taxpayers.
UK Finance said the authorities were looking for an 'easy fix' to speed up tax investigations by cutting out the courts.
The trade body said: 'We are concerned that HMRC, in removing independent oversight and appeal rights from the process, are simply inclining toward a convenient and easy fix to their timing issues, at the expense of a marginally harder path of fixing the current process, which has appropriate and necessary safeguards.'
A spokesman for HMRC insisted the new rules contain safeguards for taxpayers. They said the new process was more in line with tax powers in other G20 nations.
'The power can only be used in specific circumstances where the information is reasonably required for the purposes of checking a taxpayer's tax position. It cannot be used to collect debts,' the spokesman said.