HMRC stops spending on systems designed to collect more tax

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Computer Weekly reports that HM Revenue & Customs has frozen spending on IT.

This form a department that admits there are 12 serious flaws in the national insurance database that could affect people's right to claim pensions.

And this from a department criticised by the Public Accounts Committee last December when they said:

Weaknesses in the Department's existing systems prevent it from analysing debts by age and value and from calculating a taxpayer's total debts across all taxes. The Department has deferred its plan to invest in a new debt management system because of other priorities. An effective debt management system would improve the Department's ability to recover debt by providing a profile of debt across taxes by age, value and risk of recovery. With £11.2 billion at risk of non-recovery, the benefits of investment in a new system could easily outweigh its cost. There thus appears to be a very strong case for investment.

To not put too fine a point on it, abandoning spending on such systems is throwing money away: money that is desperately needed to restore the health of the government’s finances.

This shows three things. First the madness of having people run HMRC who know nothing about tax. Just one of HMRC’s Board has any experience in the department.

Second it shows the madness of the idea that cuts must come first.

Thirdly it shows that the desire for cuts is politically driven and that there is no desire at all to run government properly in this administration.