During 1998-99 Customs found under declaration errors totaling £2,569m 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 £34.
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 Custom’s net revenue receipts increased by 4.3% over the previous year to £90.4bn with VAT income increased by £1.4bn. The Inland Revenue saw its revenue rise 9% to £128.1bn. Income tax rose by £9.8bn and stamp duty by £1.2bn.
Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO, gave the two services a clean bill of health.
He said: ‘The Revenue Departments collected over £220bn tax in 1998-99. With such large sums at stake it is important that the tax system operate effectively. I am therefore pleased to advise Parliament that my examination confirmed that the Department’s systems continued to provide an effective check on the assessment and collection of revenue.’
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