Upward trend in total UK tax revenue over past five years, says NAO report

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) raised £536.8billion in the 2015/16 financial year, according to a performance summary carried out by the National Audit Office (NAO).

The NAO’s probe revealed that tax revenue has risen steadily over the past five years, and confirmed that the tax authority secured compliance yield of £26.6bn over a target of £26.3bn in 2015/16.

The report also found that the ‘tax gap’ as a percentage of liabilities had decreased from 8.4 per cent to 6.4 per cent over the period 2005/06 – 2015/16

According to the NAO’s report, the Revenue is undergoing a ‘shift’ in work emphasis – investing more time and money in enforcing compliance measures rather than in conducting investigations into non-compliance afterwards.

The NAO focused strongly on customer service as part of its review, following ongoing criticisms that the Revenue’s customer service standards are diminishing in the wake of the Making Tax Digital (MTD) project – which is expected to cost HMRC approximately £1.8bn.

The report read: “HMRC had maintained or improved customer service until the end of 2013/14, but then released staff before it had made all the changes needed to reduce demand. As a result, HMRC saw the quality of its service to personal taxpayers fall in 2014/15 and the first half of 2015/16.

However, it added: “HMRC restored customer service performance in the second half of 2015/16 to previous levels and has maintained this improvement into 2016/17.