MPs act on Revenue merger

The influential cross-party Treasury committee of MPs has launched an inquiry into whether Customs & Excise and the Inland Revenue should merge, writes Chris Quick.

Initially MPs will visit Canada next month to assess the success of a similar merger there in 1994 and consider whether a similar move would work in the UK.

Committee chair and Tory MP Sir Michael Spicer said the committee would consider the merger ‘from a tax-raising point of view’.

He added it had ‘no preconceptions’ and would report by the end of the year. The investigation is part of a wider inquiry which will look at Customs’ ability to ensure businesses pay their taxes and duties.

It will look in particular at problems caused by the shadow economy and the smuggling of alcohol, tobacco, diesel and other products into the UK. Firms and professional bodies have been asked to start compiling evidence for the committee.

It also emerged this week that the Revenue faces an inquiry by the National Audit Office into the new corporation tax self-assessment system. Tax experts this week welcomed the ‘mini-review’, but said that despite a few teething problems, it was too early to judge CTSA’s success.

Large companies with March year-ends face the headache of estimating their first ever CTSA instalment payments by 13 October.

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