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The Government’s estimates of the pensions lifetime allowance

Sir John Bourn, the head of the National Audit Office, today reported on the results of his examination of the Government’s estimates of the number of people who may be affected by the proposed introduction of a lifetime allowance for the amount of tax-privileged saving in a pension scheme. The proposed allowance of £1.4 million … Read more

Published:
9 Mar 2004

HM Customs and Excise: Tackling VAT Fraud

“Each year the public coffers are cheated of billions of pounds as a result of VAT lost through fraud and error. This is money which could be used to improve public services. Customs are working hard to reduce these losses, through new measures to improve compliance by traders and to detect and stop fraud. They have achieved some progress, for example on VAT missing trader fraud, but success will ultimately turn upon whether they can secure a sustained reduction in the level of losses.”

Published:
3 Mar 2004

National Insurance Fund Account 2002-2003

“The Inland Revenue continue to face challenges in maintaining individuals’ National Insurance contribution records, upon which large amounts of the public’s benefit entitlement depend. The quality of the contributions information received from employers remains a particular and enduring difficulty that various measures are addressing.”

Published:
22 Jan 2004

HM Customs and Excise: Standard Report 2002-03

“I am pleased to note the innovative changes made by Customs to better manage their relations with key stakeholders. The developments to date reveal a number of areas of good practice, for instance, closer co-operation with and understanding of traders, and the provision of dedicated points of contact for large businesses. The key test, though, remains the extent to which these measures will improve revenue yields.

“The development of a longer term strategy to manage the risks of alcohol fraud is also to be welcomed, although Customs will need to ensure effective cross-departmental communication if it is to be successfully implemented.”

Published:
18 Dec 2003

Inland Revenue: Standard Report 2002-2003 – Tax Credits

“The significant level of overpayment of Working Families’ and Disabled Person’s Tax Credit – potentially some 10 to 14 percent – is cause for serious concern and I have qualified my audit opinion.

“The level of problems caused to tax credit claimants and employers as the new tax credit systems went live in April 2003 demonstrated that there were undetected gaps in the design of the testing regime for the systems.

“The Inland Revenue must pay particular attention to ensuring that recovery from the problems with new tax credits does not undermine the Department’s reputation for integrity and accuracy when dealing with taxpayers’ affairs. This reputation is essential to the effective assessment and collection of tax.”

Published:
19 Nov 2003

Improving Service Quality: Action in Response to the Inherited SERPS Problem

“The Inherited SERPS problem was a major failure of administration which caused anxiety and distress for many people. I welcome the Department’s positive response to the recommendations made by the National Audit Office and the Committee of Public Accounts and the action which the Department have taken so far to reduce the likelihood of such a mistake being made again.

“However, more still needs to be done. It is crucial that the momentum generated over the past two years is maintained if the Department’s customers are to be confident that the information and advice they receive is accurate, timely and delivered in the most appropriate manner.”

Published:
20 Mar 2003

Tackling Fraud against the Inland Revenue

“It is important that the Inland Revenue have a clear view of the risks and scale of external fraud and the resources and approaches they are going to use to tackle them, for even a small percentage loss to fraud could amount to billions of pounds.

“The use of offshore accounts and structures to commit tax fraud is a particular concern. While acknowledging the challenges faced by the Revenue in tackling fraud, and the many useful initiatives and techniques they are developing and implementing to tackle the problem, my report identifies good practices and opportunities for reducing fraud further.”

Published:
28 Feb 2003

Audit of HM Customs and Excise Systems and Accounts, 2001-2002

” Customs’ approach to the collection of revenue has shifted to focus on those traders presenting the greatest risk of non-compliance. In 2001-2002 they were able to identify £2.5 billion net underpayments, some 5 per cent more than in the previous year. But I was concerned to find that in the same year the amount of tax owing to Customs increased markedly. Customs’ latest debt figures show some signs of improvement, but they have a long way to go.

” It will be of concern to everyone that there have been serious weaknesses in Customs’ systems for holding and disposing of seized goods. Customs are implementing a range of measures to address these weaknesses but they could have been quicker to deal with serious underlying problems.”

Published:
11 Dec 2002

Comptroller and Auditor General’s Standard Report on the Accounts of the Inland Revenue 2001-02

” It is important that the Department are learning the lessons from their experiences of the current tax credits to minimise similar problems in the new tax credits that are to operate from April 2003.

“They should also enhance their management information so that it is capable of demonstrating much more comprehensively their achievements in debt management and tax collection”.

Published:
9 Dec 2002

HM Customs and Excise: The Misuse and Smuggling of Hydrocarbon Oils

“The estimated revenue losses from the misuse and smuggling of hydrocarbon oils duty reveal that growing sums of revenue are being lost through smuggling and the illegal use of rebated fuel. Customs have recognised this problem by producing a strategy to deal with the frauds and are developing that strategy further.

“Every effort must be made to combat this criminal activity which not only results in large amounts of lost duty but also poses threats to health and safety.”

Published:
15 Feb 2002