HMRC begin 2014 behind….again

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This report came from AccountingWeb, just before Christmas:

HMRC’s large-business service, which deals with the tax affairs of the UK’s 770 largest companies, had 2,314 unresolved enquiries into the companies' tax affairs on March 31, according to figures released to Accounting WEB under the Freedom of Information Act.

Around one third (737) of the unresolved enquiries at the large-business service are more than three years old.

The unresolved enquiries - which HMRC calls "open risks" and includes corporation tax, VAT and national insurance - are down slightly from 2012 (2,375) but up from 2011 (2,721).

The evidence remains clear that HMRC are on the back foot on investigation cases and the reasons is obvious. They do not have enough staff, let alone enough experienced staff, to do the routine work in the department. Which in turn means that they have almost no resource at all to take on more complex cases of the sort the Public Accounts Committee and the public would wish them to address.

The result is that big business wins again.

And the rest of us lose.

Without a change in policy that will be a recurring feature of 2014, and there's no change in policy in sight, so this issue is bound to come up again, and again, and again this year whether or not I do any work for PCS on it, or not (and that's not certain, as yet).