HMRC secures record £627.9 billion in revenue

25 July 2019


HMRC has released its Annual Report and Accounts for 2018-19. Some of its achievements listed are a 3.6% increase in total tax revenue year on year, an extra £34.1 billion generated by tackling avoidance, evasion and non-compliance and £24.4 million in minimum wage arrears identified and recovered on behalf of workers.


The tax authority has helped more customers than ever to pay their taxes quickly and easily online – 19 million people have signed up to Personal Tax Accounts and 93.5% of Self Assessment returns were completed online. A major step forward was taken in Making Tax Digital for Business, with the launch of the new mandated service for digital record keeping and for filing VAT returns online.  More than 93,000 businesses signed up for the pilot during 2018-19 and when it launched in full on 1 April 2019, sign-ups increased to over 500,000 by the start of July 2019.


HMRC’s primary purpose is to collect the tax that pays for the UK's public services, and some record figures have been achieved:


  • £627.9 billion in total tax revenues was secured in 2018/19 – a 3.6% increase on the previous year
  • £34.1 billion additional tax was generated by tackling avoidance, evasion and non-compliance
  • The UK's tax gap in 2017-18 was 5.6% - this is the difference between the tax that should be paid and what is actually paid
  • £24.4 million National Minimum Wage arrears identified and recovered on behalf of workers
  • 648 criminals and fraudsters successfully convicted
  • The proportion of error and fraud within the tax credits system in 2017-18 was 5.7%
  • Over £3 billion in tax-protected or generated from tacking organised crime
  • 90,000 Help to Save accounts opened


HMRC’s Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary, Sir Jonathan Thompson, said that it has been an important year for them, not just because of what it has achieved but also in the way it has had to adapt to deliver on urgent new priorities, balancing work alongside the huge, complex task of preparing for the UK leaving the EU. HMRC has around 5,400 full-time equivalent employees working on Brexit preparations, building the customs, VAT and excise systems the UK will need and preparing customers for leaving the EU, with or without a deal.


HMRC has had to delay, for now, on some of its other projects such as further improvements to its digital services. HMRC has also regrettably, by its own admission, seen a slight dip below targets in its customer service by phone and post, but we are assured by the Chief Executive that the Revenue is working hard to respond to this, shifting its resources to cope with peaks in demand.


HMRC’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2018-19 are available on GOV.UK, as is the newly published Annual Report from the Charter Committee which looks at the expectations of customers and HMRC, and how it uses that to strengthen its commitment to customer service.