Who Can’t Count? – A Taxing Question!

On the one hand, we have an article from 18th. July entitled
UK collects extra £1bn in taxes from wealthy since 2009

“The United Kingdom’s tax authority, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), has collected £1 billion in extra taxes since 2009 after stepping up going after tax avoidance, evasion, and fraud.”

“In the last five years, the special “High Net Worth Unit” has raked in an extra £1 billion in taxes, and £268 million in the last year, HMRC said in a press release on Thursday.”

“David Gauke, the new Financial Secretary to the Treasury, revealed the extra £1 billion when speaking at the HMRC’s second annual stakeholders conference.”

“This is against targets totaling £894 million and is further evidence that the government’s investment of nearly £1 billion in HMRC to tackle avoidance, evasion and fraud is paying off,” Gauke said.”

JUST STOP THERE!

What is Gauke actually telling us?

That there was an investment of nearly £1 billion in HMRC which it took 5 years to recover?

In that case, the net gain so far is a big, fat ZERO according to my calculations.

On the other hand, there is an article “Government failed to collect £22bn owed to it

“More than two-thirds is owed to HM Revenue and Customs, with the Department for Work and Pensions and justice ministry accounting for most of the rest.”

“The government has been criticised in a select committee report for failing to collect £22bn in unpaid debts.”

“In its report, the committee warned that failure to minimise the volume of debt outstanding – ranging from unpaid fines and taxes to overpaid tax credits – was having a direct impact on government borrowing.”

“Government inaction has led to large volumes of old debts building up, which are unlikely to be collected,” the committee said.”

So, it seems that the standard approach to the problem is to write off any uncollected debt as “bad” at the end of the year.

Are they serious?

£22 billion would keep Kew Gardens in funds for the foreseeable future, and then some. They might even be able to build the spaceport that they have been procrastinating over for the last 50 years or so. (See “Britain plans to build commercial spaceport“)

Provided, of course that they could decide where to put it!

There is, of course, an easy answer to this accounting problem. Give the HMRC wallahs an incentive, (and I most certainly am not talking about a bonus!) –

Tie their salaries directly to money that is recovered in taxes!

All money recovered – full pay!

No money recovered – no pay!

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