Whilst the determination of the Chancellor for HMRC to collect more taxes that people owe is admirable, the statement does not have any substance, say leading tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg.
Fiona Fernie, Partner at the firm, said: “The tax gap remains at a level of over £30billion – a figure which has not been impacted significantly over the last few years despite HMRC’s alleged focus on reducing it. A further reduction in the tax gap of £5bn is of course, welcome but is still less than 20% of the current problem.
“The statement also begs the question of how this additional collection is going to be achieved. At the moment, HMRC is under-resourced, and pockets of the organisation also need better training. There is too much onus on the taxpayer to come forward using various ‘disclosure campaigns’, and even when individuals do make a disclosure, there is often huge inefficiency in dealing with them, with HMRC seemingly using standard responses and a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach in order to relieve the pressure on their in-trays.”
She added: “If the Chancellor really wants to cut the tax gap significantly, HMRC need the resources to mount investigations into those taxpayers where there is a suspicion of serious non-compliance and large underpayments. They also need properly technically trained staff manning the helplines for the ordinary taxpayer to use to try and ensure they are compliant by getting appropriate advice.”