IT helps HMRC recover £26m in IHT

HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS has managed to recover more than £26m missing inheritance tax in the last year with the aid of new software.

The taxman developed new computer software to cross-reference bank accounts, employment history, company ownership and property transactions, The Times reports.

The technology, known as Connect, can sift through huge amounts of information and looks at about 300,000 people a year who claim their inheritance tax (IHT) is below the £325,000 threshold.

Treasury minister David Gauke (pictured) is expected to say at a conference today: “As [HMRC] finds new ways to exploit technology further, there will no doubt be more that can be done to make data handling even easier, more thorough, and more effective.

“My ambition is for the UK to become the market leader at using data analytics to drive a more effective approach to taxpayer interactions – moving towards a data-driven view of taxpayers that automatically draws on comprehensive data from across the department, wider government and third parties.

“Through harnessing technology to use limited resources more effectively, I see HMRC at the forefront of the nation’s deficit reduction ambitions.”

Wading into the subject is Labour MP Michael Meacher who is calling for tighter rules to prevent accountants from helping their clients avoid paying tax – categorising evasion and avoidance together, he said: “Tax avoidance and evasion is, I believe, a cancer in Britain’s society today”.

Margaret Hodge, the chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee, said: “I think it is a terrible sickness at the heart of our society, that too many well-heeled individuals and corporations simply don’t accept they too have a duty from their wealth, their legitimate wealth, of contributing according to their means to a society from which they expect to take according to their needs and their expectations.”

Connect was introduced in 2008 but was upgraded last year. 

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