Why can’t HMRC get it right? An addiction to low hanging fruit
HMRC have just one job to do, get money. That money makes the roads you drive on and the schools you send your kids to. So it’s important.
Every year HMRC promise that they’ll bring in more cash for the government and every year they fail to meet their targets.
In the tax industry it’s euphemistically called ‘low hanging fruit’ – meaning HMRC go after fruit that is easy to pick rather than the fruit in higher branches. This metaphor is really a detraction for what’s really going on; HMRC are letting the most wealthy people in this country off the hook while it batters the poorer sections of society.
In the last five years there has been just one prosecution by HMRC of ‘high net worth individuals’ for tax fraud in the last five years. This was described by the Commons Public Accounts Committee as a ‘dismal record’.
In the last year there have been 5,117 prosecutions for benefit fraud.
The answer is greater openness and accountability from HMRC, but we are a long way from that happening at the moment.