HMRC say their #1 task is to close the tax gap

Posted on

HM Revenue & Customs has published a business plan for 2011/2015. On its first page it says:

HM Revenue & Customs’ vision is:

- to close the tax gap;

- to make our customers feel that the tax system is simple for them and even-handed; and

- to be seen as a highly professional and efficient organisation.

This is quite extraordinary. Until the TUC published my report entitled ‘The Missing Billions’ in February 2008 we know from published documentation that HMRC paid almost no attention to this issue. Now it is their number one priority, or so they say. That in itself is a radical consequence of the campaigns  that I  have been involved with.

It would be so much better if the resources allocated to the task indicated that they were serious in their statement of intent. Unfortunately, as I have long predicted, planned spending on tax assessment and collection by  HMRC will fall over the next few years. The inevitable consequence is that the tax gap will increase.

I always remember the old adage that 'failing to plan is planning to fail”. Unfortunately, in HMRC's case it seems that they are planning, but planning to fail anyway.