Politicians, fed up with the ongoing cock ups emanating from HMRC (and doubtless worried that some of the shit will, quite deservedly, splatter back on them) have done what politicians always do under such circumstances, they have announced a formal inquiry into HMRC.
A Treasury sub-committee will examine the effectiveness of HMRC and look at "how HMRC is doing its job, whether it can do it better, and what the future holds".
Dame Lesley Strathie, the "beloved and respected" CEO of HMRC, will be called to give evidence.
Ironically there has already been an inquiry into HMRC, the results of which were published this year. That inquiry found that morale was at rock bottom (HMRC are in fact the unhappiest civil servants in Whitehall).
Anyhoo, since then there has been the PAYE debacle and the announcement of further cuts in HMRC's staff etc. The politicians have realised that the government/state in all its many forms (if it is to continue to function) needs money (in the form of taxes), and that HMRC are the means by which that money is collected.
A catastrophic failure of HMRC, its IT systems, or a protracted general HMRC strike could cause a seizure at the very heart of government as the money needed to run the country is left uncollected/processed. The politicians would, quite rightly, be blamed for much of the ensuing chaos.
Therefore the politicians are panicking, and will look at:
- HMRC's performance
- whether it is delivering its key aims
- the implications of HMRC's spending review settlement
- whether it is "able to deliver" the government's aims on tax avoidance/evasion
- whether reforms to the PAYE system are necessary;
- what HMRC's priorities should be for the future.
Good luck with that then!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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