One million taxpayers have already being asked to set up online personal accounts with thousands to follow next year. Two million businesses already use digital tax accounts, and by April 2016 all of the UK's 5m small businesses will have access to one.
HMRC has put in place plans to extract data from lettings agents and firms such as Airbnb, along with auction sites such as eBay, to clamp down on those who fail to declare profits from such activities, and so avoid paying income tax or VAT.
Chas Roy-Chowdhury, of the ACCA, says: “This is HMRC's way of taking its Big Brother approach online to crack down further on tax evaders. HMRC should be very careful it does not end up with spurious data that means they start charging people tax when they are only using websites to flog a few second-hand boots and books.”