More HMRC cuts will torpedo target to resolve 17.9m PAYE errors by 2012

The taxman will miss its target of resolving 17.9 million PAYE errors by 2012
if the department is hit by further cuts in the spending review next week,
HMRC’s chief executive has warned.

HMRC is already pushing through staff cuts as part of an efficiency review.

The queue of cases began before the latest round of PAYE inaccuracies, which
saw approximately 5.7m people pay the wrong amount of tax during the last two
tax years.

HM Revenue
& Customs’
chief executive Lesley Strathie made the admission
while being grilled by the
Accounts Committee

In a tense meeting, the committee demanded to know how the “fiasco” of
modernising the PAYE IT system had happened, warning that the inaccuracy rate
was higher than when the previous technology had been operating.

“If you get the staff cuts in the CSR, will your commitment to deal with
[17.9 m unresolved] cases pre-2008 be met?” said PAC chair Margaret Hodge MP.

“No,” said Strathie.

“‘No’, it will not be met?” countered Hodge.

“It will not be met,” Strathie said.

Strathie said that the issues still to be resolved with the current system
had to be ironed out first before any objectives could be met.

“If we can’t protect PAYE then we can’t deliver,” Strathie added.

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