Taxation – Departments get information-sharing boost

The Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise are set to increase controversial plans for shared information thanks to a government cash boost, writes Lawrie Holmes.

The move is at the heart of a #422m cash injection for the departments in the government’s comprehensive spending review. A Customs spokeswoman said collaboration on training and producing joint information systems were a major part of the package.

She said: ‘We will share information with departments on the shadow economy, taxpayer information and debt collection.’

In recent weeks, both the Revenue and Customs have denied that increased communication between them is likely to lead to prosecution, even though both signed an agreement earlier this year to co-operate on certain prosecutions.

The Revenue would receive #316m over the period in a bid to implement the government’s new tax agenda. It said its programme will include ‘modernisation, simplification and integration of the tax system for the next century.’

New technology improvements worth #106m will improve Customs’ service standards, and reduce compliance costs and the growth in cross-channel smuggling. The department said the cash boost will form an important part of the government’s anti-drugs strategy.

The announcement adds: ‘future initiatives are aimed at enhancing effectiveness and efficiency wherever possible, and improving service to the taxpayer and business.’ The spending review statement also said the Contributions Agency will join the Revenue next year.

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