HMRC repayments: chilling

There are many different measures of how difficult economic circumstances have become. Unemployment, house prices, inflation, the inter bank lending rate. But while looking through the National Audit Office report on HMRC today I came across another I hadn’t thought of before – the sum of money paid back to taxpayers by the taxman.
Repayments for 2008-09 totalled £9.7bn, up from £5.4bn the previous year. A clear sign that many taxpayers are not taking enough money to warrant a tax bill. It’s quite a shocking figure and a real measure of the trouble we seem to be in. Add that to the fact that tax revenues have actually fallen by £21.7bn and there’s been an £2bn increase in the sum owed to HMRC and you have quite a chilling picture. It’s a clear sign of how difficult it will be for government to resolve the massive fiscal deficit it’s currently struggling with.

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