VAT fraud on goods exported out of the UK in the first quarter of the year
amounted to £6.5bn out of a total of £60.3bn, according to new figures released
by the Office for National Statistics.
This is £1bn higher than the original estimate of £5.5bn made a month ago and
means that a tenth of goods shipped out of the UK are done so fraudulently. It
also points to a rise in the volume of goods shipped in and out of the UK by
criminal gangs to gain illegal tax relief.
If it continues at the current rate it would be equivalent to £26bn a year,
or 2.1% of GDP and comes just days after EU finance ministers failed to strike a
deal on VAT rules that the UK believes would have helped tackle the fraud.
Does Darwin's theory apply to taxation? Colin ponders...
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