An Enlightened Approach to Taxpayer Confidentiality: The Story of the First Income Tax – Wilberforce Chambers

‘Confidentiality is a fundamental concept at the heart of the modern taxation system. The need to strike a balance between the taxpayer’s right to privacy and the requirement of HMRC to carry out its functions has been the subject of much legislation and litigation.[1] There has been an explosion in the exchange of information between revenue authorities of different countries and British politicians have for years been under pressure to emulate the tradition of American presidents publishing their tax returns. But there is nothing new under the sun: the introduction of income tax in Britain at the end of the 18th century was dominated by concerns over taxpayer confidentiality, which led to measures being developed which have left their mark on today’s income tax system.’

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Wilberforce Chambers, 6th April 2021