HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Friday, 23 August 2013

The LGA Talks Bollocks

Last week the Local Government Association (LGA), for reasons best known to itself, decided to blow its own trumpet and have a go at HMRC's tax collection record.

The LGA said that uncollected tax was costing the equivalent of £1,370 for every household in England and Wales.

Cllr Sharon Taylor, chairwoman of the LGA's finance panel and Labour leader of Stevenage Borough Council in Hertfordshire, is quoted in the Huffington Post:
"If central government's collection rates were as good as those of councils, the public purse would be more than £20 billion better off.

That's almost double the size of the total spending cuts announced in the Chancellor's spending round. When the taxman's balance sheet falls short, it takes a toll on public services across the board.

Local government is the most efficient part of the public sector. Council tax has one of the highest collection rates of any tax. We cannot afford for local services like road maintenance, libraries and social care to continue paying the price of those who evade and avoid their tax liability. We all need government to do better in tackling this.

Local authorities collect council tax from more than 22 million homes. If councils can obtain more than 97% of this, it is reasonable that Whitehall should be able to match this.

Government has made positive noises on tackling unpaid tax. We now want to see a clear timetable which sets out how government will significantly improve their tax collection record."
Pass the sick bag someone!

Aside from the bizarre delusion that local government is the "most efficient part of the public sector", the comparison of council tax with tax collected by HMRC is absurd.

1 Council tax is straightforward to calculate, administer and collect.

2 Council's know where you live.

3 Tax collected by HMRC covers a veritable smorgasbord of income streams/types (eg salary, bonuses, capital gains, IHT etc etc); ie it is not always straightforward, easy to administer or calculate.

The LGA is talking complete and utter bollocks!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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2 comments:

  1. Quite

    Real Estate can not move.

    Neither can oilfields.

    Unsurprisingly HMRC even in its current shambolic state has a 99% plus collection rate on Petroleum Revenue Tax which is better than any LGA achieves on the Council tax

    When Councils had to collect the Community Charge (Poll Tax) which was tied to rather more mobile individuals than static properties their record at recovering the money due was dire.

    As you rightly say Ken the LGA are talking out of their rears.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Let us accept for a moment, however unlikely that it might be, that local authorities are superbly efficient at collecting amounts they consider due to them. Two other aspects are relevant:

    1 How efficient are they at spending the money they collect, and on choosing how they spend it, on things that local taxpayers actually need or want?

    2 What account is taken of the various forms of piracy that local authorities practice - parking charges and fines being the obvious example (see Ken's postings passim)?

    ReplyDelete