It appears that HMRC is going to be selling anonymised tax data.
Government plans to share taxpayers’ data with private firms were condemned as “borderline insane” by a senior Conservative MP. Under the proposals, HM Revenue and Customs would be allowed to release anonymised information to third parties including companies, researchers and public bodies where there is a public benefit.
That a senior Conservative thinks this is borderline insane predisposes us to rather liking the idea. And that Richard Murphy is against it makes it obvious that there’s some sense to it.
However, we should oppose this on the Sir John Cowperthwaite principle. He, famously, would not allow GDP statistics to be collected in Hong Kong on the grounds that some fool would only try to use them to do something. So it is here.
For do recall that all of that famous Piketty and Saez research into the top 1% incomes, the top 0.1% and so on, came because they were able to get unprecedented access to anonymised tax data from the IRS. So it’s not just that fools will use statistics to do something it’s that the entire left political class is trying to use statistics to increase taxation. So, don’t let them have the data in the first place.