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Report cover showing person filling out tax form

Inland Revenue: Income Tax Self Assessment

“The self assessment system is providing an effective framework for managing the risks associated with the assessment and collection of tax. The system has improved the administration of income tax by making assessments more straightforward and by allowing a more focused approach to compliance work.

“However, the Inland Revenue need better management information to assess the effectiveness of the system and to identify areas for improvement as they continue to develop their approach.”

The main findings in the report are as follows.

Identifying potential taxpayers

Individuals have an obligation to notify the Inland Revenue of taxable income and gains. Some will fail to do so, for example ‘ghosts’ and ‘moonlighters’ operating in the hidden economy. The Department’s intelligence work identified some £22 million additional tax in 1999-00 by identifying people not registered for tax.

The Inland Revenue have recently reorganised the way they approach intelligence work. They have set up specialist teams to improve the focus of the work, are increasing the scope and scale of data-matching to identify non-compliance, and are planning to improve the way they collate the results. These changes should also provide the Department with better management information to assess the effectiveness of work at national and local level.

Getting in tax returns

Around 90 per cent of the 9 million tax returns issued each year are filed by the 31 January deadline. The Department estimate that there is potentially between £150 million and £300 million at risk from returns which remain outstanding after automatic £100 penalties have been applied.

The report recommends that the Department should develop their management information to monitor the use of automatic £100 penalties, daily penalties and estimated tax assessments to assess whether these incentives are effective and that they are being used appropriately. The Department are carrying out research into patterns of taxpayer behaviour which should help identify ways in which the current arrangements might be improved.

Carrying out enquiries

The Inland Revenue enquire into tax returns to deter and detect non-compliance. Using new powers, they have carried out enquiries into a random sample of tax returns. The results of this work are providing valuable information about the level and pattern of non-compliance in the taxpayer population as a whole. Results from the first two years, while not providing a definitive view, have, nevertheless, confirmed that substantial sums are at risk.

The self assessment system has enabled the Inland Revenue to introduce a greater uniformity in approach to addressing higher-risk aspects of individuals’ tax affairs and there is now a structured approach to risk assessment and the selection of cases for enquiry. The Department are continuing to develop their approach and in April 2001 introduced specialist teams to carry out risk assessment work. They have also analysed yield from completed enquiries to identify features which will be used to make a central selection of cases for enquiry in 2001-02.

Published:
5 Jul 2001
Report cover showing a royal helicopter

Royal Travel by Air and Rail

In the three years since the Royal Household took over responsibility for managing its own air and rail travel, the cost of such travel has reduced by two thirds. However, as a result of the National Audit Office’s enquiries, the basis of charging by the Ministry of Defence for royal use of the RAF’s 32 … Read more

Published:
22 Jun 2001
Cover picture

Sampling guide

This is a practical guide outlining the general steps undertaken in financial and VFM audit when sampling a population. The guide shows the different sampling methods and when they are suitable, calculating sample sizes and evaluating results.

Published:
1 Jun 2001
Cover of National Insurance Fund Account 1999-2000

National Insurance Fund Account 1999-2000

Section 161 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 requires me to examine and certify the National Insurance Fund Account and this report records the results of my examination of the 1999-2000 account.

Published:
4 May 2001
Report cover showing surgeons operating on a patient

Handling Clinical Negligence Claims in England

“The human and financial costs of clinical negligence are enormous. At the end of March 2000, some 23,000 claims for clinical negligence were outstanding. The net present value of known and anticipated claims at that date was £3.9 billion. Many claims have been outstanding for a long time, and the present system is a slow and inefficient way of resolving small and many medium size claims.

“The Litigation Authority and the Legal Services Commission are making improvements to the way they handle claims. Implementation of our recommendations should provide patients with improved access to remedies, speed up settlements and cut legal costs.”

Published:
3 May 2001
Report cover showing a section of the European Flag

Financial Management of the European Union

“My report draws attention to serious problems in the management of European funds in 1999. I hope that in future years we will see the programme of reforms drawn up by Commission Vice-President Neil Kinnock taking effect. It is vital the United Kingdom Government, through the Council of Ministers and its other links in the Community, continues to do all it can to press for improvements in the financial management and to support the Commission in implementing the reforms. The National Audit Office will continue to give a high priority to examining the way that United Kingdom departments manage Community funds.”

Published:
27 Apr 2001
Report cover showing probation officers at their desk

The Implementation of the National Probation Service Information Systems Strategy

“Good information systems have a vital part to play in helping probation officers carry out their work in supervising offenders serving their sentences in the community and in helping them turn against crime.

“Whilst the Home Office has been able to install a standard information technology infrastructure across a large part of the probation service, there are some important lessons to be learnt from the serious flaws in the Home Office’s procurement and management of this IT programme. The new National Probation Service now has an opportunity to address these issues as it develops a new IT strategy and enters into a new strategic partnership.”

Published:
26 Apr 2001
Report cover showing illustration of men arranging a jigsaw puzzle

Purchasing Professional Services

“A significant amount of taxpayers’ money is spent on these services each year. We have found excellent examples of innovative practice but much more could be done to improve government purchasing. Implementing the changes we propose would free up at least £60 million a year for spending on public services”.

Published:
25 Apr 2001
Report cover showing a modern terrace house

Regulating Housing Associations’ Management of Financial Risk

“The Corporation has a good record in preventing serious financial failure in the sector, but risk in the sector is changing. Although the Corporation is reforming its approach, we recommend further steps to protect the interests of taxpayers and tenants.”

Housing associations registered with the Housing Corporation own or manage some 1.45 million homes, a third of the social housing stock in England, housing some 3.2 million people. Over £24 billion of public money has been invested in the sector and a further £1 billion a year is planned over the coming years. These associations, known as Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), provide housing at affordable rents for the homeless and people on low income or with special needs. RSLs are responsible for managing the variety of risks that they face, while the Corporation is responsible for regulating how well they do this. The Corporation has the complex task of seeking to ensure that tenants’ homes and taxpayers’ investments are protected, while also avoiding restriction on RSLs’ scope to engage in well-managed risk taking.

Published:
19 Apr 2001