Revenue fails to collect pounds 2.7bn tax

INLAND Revenue officials were rebuked yesterday for failing to collect tax efficiently and allowing the total of outstanding tax to rise for the third year running.

A cross-party group of MPs said they were concerned that pounds 2.7bn was owed to the Revenue but had not been collected. The MPs on the Commons Public Accounts Committee also said in a report on the Revenue they were alarmed that 'for the fourth year running the value and numbers of remissions and writes-off have increased significantly'. They looked to officials 'to take all possible steps' to remedy the position.

Tax-payers were also damned with faint praise for not claiming pounds 550m of overpaid tax. MPs were 'disappointed' that people were being so generous towards the Exchequer. Publicity campaigns about possible rebates were failing.

The criticism comes at a sensitive time for the Revenue, which faces growing pressure to improve its efficiency and to be more open. Next week, the Revenue will publish the first league tables of performance by its regional offices. Sir Anthony Batishill, the Revenue chairman, told MPs on the PAC earlier this week that the rankings will relate to the treatment of annual returns from Schedule D or self-employed payers.

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