Rise in VAT error detection.

During 1998/99 Customs found under-declaration errors totalling £2.6bn in VAT and insurance premium tax returns. VAT avoidance experts identified £143m of avoidance while Shadow Economy Teams targeting unregistered businesses provided extra revenue of £34m. Investigations into the abuse of warehousing and transit arrangements of excise unearthed a further £244m of evaded duty. The figures came in the annual report into Customs and the Inland Revenue appropriation accounts. It found Customs’ net revenue receipts increased by 4.3% over the previous year to £90.4bn with VAT income up by £1.4bn. The Revenue saw its revenue rise 9% to £128.1bn. Income tax rose by £9.8bn and stamp duty by £1.2bn. NAO chief Sir John Bourn said: ‘Revenue departments collected over £220bn tax in 1998/99. With such large sums at stake it is important the tax system operate effectively.’

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