Friday, September 10, 2010

British tax offices "at melting point"

The BBC has posted an interview with an official of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC,) which is facing cuts, amid austerity and revenue shortages. We don't normally comment on governments' spending choices, but since this is a revenue issue too we will. The serving HMRC official had their voice disguised. Two key snippets:

"HMRC has not been fit for purpose for a very long time. It's now at melting point. "

The latest edition of Private Eye cites one insider as describing the cuts (which will obviously produce savings that are vastly smaller than the revenues that will be lost as a result of the lower tax collection capacity), as akin to "a drowning man who decides to throw off his life jacket, because it weighs too much." The BBC then asked:

"How much money do you think is going uncollected as a result of this crisis in the tax office?

Answer: "There are varying amounts – by the department’s own admission it is at least 30-40 billion, and there is evidence, expecially in the Richard Murphy Tax Justice report, to suggest that the figure is much higher – up to 3-4 times that."

The cited tax gap work is here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, there are unions to fight this sort of thing. There are also these employees themselves who can stand up for our democracy. I'm pleased this particular employee has.

The threatend cuts may unite this nation, the tax man walking alongside those members of the public who are in receipt of tax-collection bills, united against the destruction of everything we, our parents and our grandparents have built so far. If they join together and demonstrate loudly outside the Parliament in October I may just finally see the return of hope to our shores.

7:33 pm  

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