A study by PCG (Professional Contractors Group) shows that 71% of its contractor members believe that HMRC should be split into a Revenue section and a Customs section, in order to create a simpler tax system.
Those of you with long memories will recall that HMRC was once (pre Brown) in fact two separate organisations (the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise). A significant number of comments posted on this site by those who work in HMRC criticise this merger, and blame some of the ills that HMRC is suffering on the forcing together of two separate bodies.
It is clear that the merger has been botched, and is still the cause of much internal friction between IR and Customs people. I personally am of the view that it may well be worthwhile splitting the two departments up even if, in the short term, that will require the taxpayer to foot the additional costs.
However, I do not think that splitting HMRC into two is a panacea for all that ails HMRC and our tax system.
The fundamental problem is that the tax system in the UK is too complex, neither the taxpayer or staff of HMRC fully understand it and the costs of administering/complying with it are excessive.
Additionally, as is evidenced by many comments on this site, HMRC management (for numerous reasons) are simply not up to the job of motivating/managing their staff.
Any splitting of HMRC needs to be accompanied by a fundamental simplification of our tax system and a radical reorganisation of the management structure/quality within HMRC.
All of that will cost money.
Sadly, I do not believe that our government has the resources or guts to take the necessary action to improve HMRC (other than some "window dressing" that will grab the headlines for a day or two).
Comments and views, as always, welcome.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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