HMRC: Tax gap at £32bn

THE LATEST FIGURES for the estimated tax gap from HM Revenue & Customs put the shortfall at £32bn up to the year ending 2010/11, up £1bn on the previous year.

The gap has been relatively consistent since 2004/05 – the furthest back estimates go – with the lowest figure coming in 2009/10 at £31bn and highest being £35bn in 2006/07, and two of the six years posting a £33bn shortfall.

While the value of the tax gap has not fluctuated greatly, the Revenue’s estimates of the gap as a percentage of liabilities has dropped from 8.2% of tax owed in 2004/5 to 6.7% in 2010/11.

The tax gap is compiled from 30 separate estimates for different taxes, and also breaks down reasons tax is not collected. These include tax evasion and avoidance, taxpayer error, the black market, criminal attacks and corporate insolvencies.

HMRC chief executive Lin Homer said: “Our determination to support the honest majority and to crack down on evasion, avoidance and fraud has kept downward pressure on the tax gap.

“We are determined to do more and we are devoting increasing resources to pursuing those who do not pay the tax they owe, while making it easier for people and business to comply with their tax obligations.”

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