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However you may feel about the financial year 2014-2015 and any resulting tax issues, as far as the HMRC are concerned, it was, in the words of the song, “a very good year.”

“It’s been another good year for HMRC, and we’ve delivered record results in some areas,” says Lin Homer, HMRC’s Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary.

So what were these record results, and what made it such a good year for HMRC? We take a look at Lin Homer’s highlights and HMRC’s Executive Summary to find out.

Record revenues

Total tax revenues were up £11.9 billion (2.4%) to a record-breaking £517.7 billion, while a record £26.6 billion was raised in compliance revenues. HMRC attribute this not just to a growing UK economy to their increased compliance activity to tackle tax evasion and avoidance, fraud, error and debt.

Lowest ever tax credits error and fraud losses

These losses were reduced to a record low of 4.4%. £469 million of tax credits error and fraud losses were identified and prevented and there were 1,289 prosecutions for tax offences. £9 billion in tax revenues was protected through legal action in the courts.

A record number of online Self Assessments

10.2 million Self Assessment returns were submitted by midnight on 31 January 2015, and a record 85.5% of them were completed online.

Exceeding government cost cutting targets

HMRC managed to beat the cost-cutting targets set for them, making sustainable cost savings of £210 million. So how has this been achieved?

‘We have continued to reshape our workforce and have reduced the cost of our administration, estate, and the goods and services we buy,’ the executive summary states. ‘We have the right people, with the right skills in place as we move to more digital ways of working.’

There are now only 170 HMRC offices, compared to 539 in 2005, and 8 out of 10 HMRC employees work in 16 ‘key centres’. HMRC’s estate running costs were down by £17 million and they printed 19 million fewer sheets of paper.

Dealing with demand

‘We improved our handling of the peaks in demand during the January Self Assessment and July tax credits deadlines, but we missed our phone and post targets overall on deadline day…[but] we answered 99.9 per cent of phone calls, compared to just 53 per cent in 2009, the last time the deadline fell on a Saturday,’ says the summary.

Supporting small businesses

2.4 million businesses subscribed to Your Tax Account, an online service which provides Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with a personalised homepage that ‘brings together everything someone running a business needs to manage their business’s tax affairs,’ according to the Government’s blog. Designed after consultation with SME focus groups, Your Tax Account gives business owners ‘an overview of all their tax records, showing a summary of their current liabilities, and access via direct links to the actions they need to take and transactions they need to complete,’ plus help, education and interactive tools.

HMRC have also expanded their online seminars for businesses to cover more of the topics that businesses have requested. ‘More than 352,000 small businesses viewed our advice and signposting videos on YouTube, and our e-learning modules had more than 155,000 customer views. We also sent more than 50 million support and advice emails,’ HMRC say in their summary.

1 million employers – 85% of all those eligible – also claimed the new Employment Allowance.

Supporting customers

71,727 customers made use of HMRC’s Needs Extra Support service, and 94% of the 410,000 tax credits customers who used the new online system to renew their tax credits were satisfied with their experience.

More to do

Despite these successes, improvements and record-breaking achievements, Lin Homer says: “We know that there is still more to do.” Both the handling of post and answering of calls fell short of their targets and were down significantly from last year. But she sees HMRC’s accomplishment of increasing revenues every year since 2010 as “a truly fantastic achievement,” all due, she says, to “the thousands of hard-working, dedicated people who work at HMRC.”

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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