Despite HMRC's oft expressed public confidence over the certainty of success of its flagship RTI, due to be launched next year, not everyone else is so confident.
In amongst the mud and mire about avoidance in yesterday's PAC report on HMRC's annual report and accounts for 2011/12, were some telling paragraphs about PAC's views on RTI.
"The next challenges HMRC faces are the roll-out of the Real Time Information system and the changes to child benefit. HMRC did not convince us that it will manage the potential increase in its workload or that it had fully considered the impact on taxpayers. There are four months to go before the main roll-out of the Real Time Information system. The system is vital for the Department for Work and Pensions’ introduction of Universal Credit, but HMRC has no contingency planning to cope with any delays in implementation."Also here:
"HMRC is unduly complacent about the rollout of the Real Time Information (RTI) system and the child benefit changes. We are concerned that, with four months to go to the main roll out of RTI, the project has been rated amber by the Major Projects Authority. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) thinks that the Department's current plans will increase the burden on small businesses and therefore on the Department's workload.In the event HMRC's flagship sinks this will be a major blow to the government, for the success (or otherwise) of RTI is linked to the government's personal flagship of Universal Credit.
Similarly more individuals will be required to register for self-assessment as a result of the changes to child benefit. HMRC believes that there will be negligible impact from both sets of changes and do not have contingency plans to deal with delay or fluctuations in workload.
By the end of March 2013, HMRC should provide the Committee with details of its plans to manage the burden on small businesses as a result of RTI; and provide credible contingency arrangements should the main rollout of RTI between April and October 2013 not go according to plan."
In the event that RTI sinks so does Universal Credit, and most likely with it the government.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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