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HMRC Chief Exec Hails Record Performance

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London Wednesday, July 23, 2014

HM Revenue and Customs's (HMRC's) Chief Executive, Lin Homer, has welcomed the Department's "best ever" results. For the first time, this year it brought in more than GBP500bn (USD853.4bn) in total tax revenues and secured record compliance revenues of GBP23.9bn.

Addressing HMRC's Annual Stakeholder Conference, Homer added that staff have reduced the occurrence of tax credits error and fraud to seven percent, and delivered GBP235m in cost savings in the last year. Customer service has also improved – 79 percent of calls to contact centers are now handled, up from less than 50 percent four years ago. More than 80 percent of post is now turned around within 15 working days.

HMRC has been responsible for the launch of the major new Real Time Information (RTI) project to enhance the administration of pay-as-you-earn (PAYE). According to Homer, information about 48 million individuals' PAYE affairs are now reported in real time. The Department is also preparing for the launch of the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.

Homer acknowledged that – in spite of these improvements – more needs to be done. She wants the Department to change the way it serves taxpayers. It should be "getting it right so they don't have to call us, offering online alternatives, reducing uncertainty so we don't get assurance calls, [and] helping customers and taxpayers avoid making mistakes." The aim is to provide all taxpayers with an individual tax account, through which they would be able to see all of their tax affairs and deal directly with HMRC online, she said.

HMRC will also seek new powers to deal with avoidance and evasion. Under recent changes, HMRC will be able to recover debt more easily, and oblige persons involved in tax avoidance schemes to pay tax upfront.

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