18 November 2008
Jonathan Schwarz (Visiting Professorial Fellow) delivered the 16th Hardman lecture of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Tax Faculty on November 18, 2008 on the subject of “Rights and Powers: Protecting the Legitimate Interests of Taxpayers.” This has now been published in the British Tax Review  No 3 p 307. Tax law does not operate in isolation from the rest of the legal system. It is only one aspect of public law that governs the relationship between the citizen and the state and must, therefore, be viewed in the context of that relationship. The author examines the constitutional and administrative legal framework for the assessment and collection of taxes in the United Kingdom in light of a drift to authoritarianism in key aspects of public administration, the vast body of often incomprehensible and unclear substantive tax laws, the merger that created HMRC and the coercive power of the state. He goes on to suggest steps to improve the administration of the tax system by inspiring confidence within the framework of the rule of law and recognition of human rights.