Tax gap figure reinforces case for increased HMRC resourcing

16 September 2010
(For immediate release)

Today's publication of the estimated tax gap, which has widened by a further 10% to £42bn at a time when HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) resources were being cut, has reinforced the case for increasing resources for the department, according to the Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC). ARC represents senior staff in HMRC.

ARC President Graham Black said: "HMRC actions have brought in more than £12bn, so the overall gap was more than £54bn. However, VAT loss has shot up to 16% - an increase of £3.5bn. And we now see that inaccurate PAYE returns from employers are estimated to lose the country £3.2bn. Staff shortages have directly contributed to the tax gap in both of these areas.

"This confirms everything ARC has been saying about the lunacy of cutting HMRC resource. To see at least £42bn being salted away by tax evaders and avoiders is appalling, when so many in Britain are having to make sacrifices to help reduce the deficit.

"These figures are astonishing and worrying. The tax gap seems almost certain to keep rising as HMRC staff numbers keep dropping dramatically. Now is the time to take real action to solve this problem and help the country deal with a major crisis. We can make a difference and we can defeat this deficit - by bringing in £60 for every pound invested in HMRC."

The ARC campaign document, Being Bold - a Radical Approach to Raising Revenue and Defeating the Deficit, highlights how more money could be collected by increasing HMRC resources.

Notes for editors

1. The Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) is a union representing senior staff in HM Revenue and Customs, including tax inspectors, accountants, lawyers, managers and other leading professionals. It is also a section of the FDA.

2. The FDA is the trade union and professional body representing 18,000 of the UK's senior civil and public servants. Our members include policy advisors, senior managers, tax inspectors, economists, statisticians, accountants, special advisers, government lawyers, diplomats, crown prosecutors and NHS managers.

3. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

4. Copies of Being Bold can be obtained at or on 020 7401 5555.

5. For further information contact:

  • Graham Black, ARC President, tel: 020 7401 5559 or 07766 497976.
  • Debbie Stamper, ARC officer, tel: 020 7401 5555.
  • Graham Flew, ARC officer, tel: 020 7401 5555.