MPs' report on uncollected tax misses the point

9 March 2012

An MPs' report published today on tackling the billions in uncollected tax misses the main point about massive job cuts.

In a report following an inquiry into the 'tax gap' - an estimate of uncollected revenue largely through tax evasion and avoidance - the Treasury select committee fails to take account of the tens of thousands of HM Revenue and Customs jobs that have gone or are under threat.

Since 2005, HMRC has cut 30,000 of its staff and there are plans to cut a further 10,000 by 2015 as a result of cuts announced under this government's latest spending review.

This has left the department unable to properly target tax dodgers, the union says, and means staff morale is at rock bottom.

The report does criticise HMRC for failing to calculate the tax gap properly, but the MPs then question whether the department should waste resources on working out how much tax could be collected if everyone paid what they owed.

The union says detailed independent analysis of the extent and scope of evaded and avoided tax should guide how uncollected taxes are properly targeted, and the government should invest in staff to ensure it is done.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "The main barrier to tackling the tens of billions of pounds lost to our public finances every year is the loss of tens of thousands of HMRC staff.

"It makes no economic sense to be cutting the very people capable of addressing the problem of uncollected tax, but this confused report by the Treasury select committee appears to have missed this rather obvious point."


 

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