MPs call for increased investment in HMRC

18 April 2018

Two-thirds of MPs believe that Government should be clearer on its tax strategy, while three-quarters have called for increased investment in HMRC, according to research published by the Association of Accounting Technicians.

The YouGov study, commissioned by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), found that 63 percent of MPs believe the government should publish a clear tax strategy in each Parliament and then stick to it. Only 16 percent disagreed with this suggestion.

In 2010 the Treasury did publish a “road map” for Corporation Tax, which was well received, but the exercise wasn’t repeated in subsequent Parliaments and was only for one specific tax rather than looking at taxation as a whole.

Since 2016 HMRC has required all large companies in the UK, with a turnover above £200m, to publish their tax strategies but fails to do so itself.

Further HMRC investment required

The study also found very strong cross-party support for increased investment in HMRC to improve the skills, training and number of both tax inspectors and call centre staff.

Around three-quarters of MPs (73%) believe increased government investment is needed to enable a more efficient and effective service. Just 5 percent of MPs disagreed.

The survey results follow a January 2018 report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which raised concerns with the way HMRC was operating.

 

PAC chair Meg Hillier MP said at the time:

"HMRC faces difficult decisions on how best to use its limited resources - decisions that must give full consideration to the needs of all taxpayers…[there] are serious, pressing challenges for HMRC, requiring swift and co-ordinated action in government. As a matter of urgency, the authority must set out a coherent plan and demonstrate it is fit for the future."
 

Mark Farrar, chief executive, AAT said:

“AAT has long called for a broad, overarching tax strategy to be published for the sake of all taxpayers – businesses and individuals alike – as well as to help the government. Likewise, whilst recognising the great job HMRC does in many areas, stretched resources can contribute towards poor performance in certain circumstances and that’s in nobody’s interests. This strong political support for both a broad tax strategy and increased investment in HMRC is yet to translate into action – but the benefits to all stakeholders appear clear.”