HMRC raises its game and gets record revenues

The UK tax body HMRC has raised an additional £29 billion by cracking down on individuals and businesses who try to avoid paying the tax they owe - as well as improving its service to honest tax-payers.

HMRC is marking the seventh consecutive year of record total tax revenues; it has collected a total of £574.9 billion in the past year - £38.1 billion more than last year.

Over the past six years, the tax body has brought more than 500 serious organised criminals to justice. It says that its investigations and enforcement generated or protected £3.2 billion in compliance yield in 2016-17.

Jon Thompson, chief executive and permanent secretary, HMRC, said: "In the last year, we have generated £28.9 billion of compliance yield, billions of pounds that would have otherwise been lost to the UK through avoidance, evasion and organised crime … that's around £1,000 for every household in the UK."

Thompson added: "We have also strengthened our grip on the minority who deliberately try to cheat the system and continue to pursue those who refuse to pay what they owe, on behalf of the honest majority. The message is clear to those who try to not pay their fair and legal share: there is nowhere left to hide."

Following some criticism in recent years, HMRC also says it has made significant improvements to its customer service. Contact centre staff are now available seven days a week and they answered phone calls in less than four minutes in 2016/17. Altogether, HMRC has helped more than nine million individuals and more than five million businesses to access online services.

Edward Troup, executive chair and permanent secretary, HMRC, said: "The public rightly judge us on the quality of service we provide to the overwhelming majority of people in the UK who are honest and pay the right amount of tax on time. Our continued focus on giving our customers the service level they deserve is paying dividends."

  • Excellent service, and a very professional approach to all our questions and throughout the course from start to finish.