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Spending review 2015: Osborne sets out HMRC budget

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Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne published the results of the 2015 spending review alongside the Autumn Statement on Wednesday, including details of HMRC’s budget over the course of this Parliament (see Among the key points were:

  • £717m of ‘sustainable resource savings’ a year by 2019/20, saving £1.9bn cumulatively over the spending review period (a 21% reduction in baseline resource costs), delivered through ‘digitisation of tax collection and a smaller but more highly skilled workforce’;
  • £1.3bn reinvested to make HMRC into one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world, with digital tax account access for all small businesses and individuals by 2016/17, raising an additional £1bn of tax revenue by 2020/21;
  • £800m funding for additional work to tackle tax evasion and non-compliance, delivering an additional £7.2bn over the next five years;
  • £400m total reduction in business customer costs by 2019/20; and
  • a departmental budget of between £3.1–3.8bn over the next five years.

HMRC chief executive Lin Homer welcomed the chancellor’s plans, saying: ‘This settlement will enable HMRC to become more highly skilled and more cost-effective as it transforms into one of the most modern and digitally advanced tax authorities in the world. The tax system will be streamlined and customer service improved through better use of data ... while increasing the extra tax collected.’

However, not everyone was as enthusiastic. A C Mole & Sons tax partner, Paul Aplin OBE, tweeted: ‘If businesses have to report results to HMRC “at least quarterly” via digital tax accounts by 2020, admin burdens will significantly increase.’ He dismissed the assertion in the chancellor’s ‘blue book’ that the settlement would save business £400m by 2019/20 as ‘pure fantasy’.

Issue: 1287
Categories: News