Newsletter issue - September 2019.
The National Audit Office has published a report on HMRC's 2018-19 accounts. The report shows that HMRC raised £627.98bn of tax revenues during 2018-19, an increase of £22.1bn (3.6%) on 2017-18. Of this total, around £250bn was paid in PAYE and National Insurance.
Currently, around 5.7m small businesses represent more than 95% of businesses in the UK. These businesses paid £115bn in corporation tax, VAT and other taxes during 2018-19. Small businesses are defined as having a turnover below £10m and fewer than 20 employees. At the other end of the scale, large businesses, of which there are around 2,000 (broadly defined as having a turnover exceeding £200m or £2bn in assets), were responsible for paying taxes of £135bn.
HMRC's operating costs for the year were £4bn, which represents around half a penny for every £1 of tax revenue raised. The UK's tax gap, the difference between tax that should be paid and what is actually paid, was 5.6% in 2017-18 an increase of 0.1% from 2016-17.
The report shows that £40.1bn of revenue collected was paid out in benefits and credits.
There has been an increased focus on helping people pay their tax quickly and easily online. According to the report, 19 million people have signed up to Personal Tax Accounts (PTAs) and 93.5% of self-assessment returns were completed online. With regards to Making Tax Digital for Business, HMRC have launched the new mandated service for digital record keeping and for filing VAT returns online. More than 93,000 businesses signed up for the pilot during 2018-19. MTD was officially launched on 1 April 2019, and sign ups had increased to over 500,000 by the start of July 2019.
HMRC are currently facing the huge, complex task of preparing for the UK leaving the EU. The Department currently has around 5,400 full-time equivalent employees working on Brexit preparations, building the customs, VAT and excise systems the UK will need and preparing taxpayers for leaving the EU, with or without a deal.
The full report can be found here.