2006: The Unit – David Mamet

The Mega Tax Unit

The wealthy need to make sure that their tax records are right up to date. HMRC are now focused on the wealthiest 500,000 people in Britain. They even have an “Affluent Unit” which was set up a year ago but have recently reduced the “ticket price” from wealth of £2.5m+ to £1m+. Mind you this is not high net worth according to HMRC who have the department of departments, the ingeniously named “High Net Worth Unit” which looks at those with wealth of £20m or more. Since it was set up in 2009, it claims to have collected £500m in extra tax – rather more than even HMRC thought they would get. This is the unit of all tax departments!

One Hundred Elite Taxmen

Its a fairly “big” job for the HMRC, so to help the Coalition has arranged for another 100 inspectors and specialists to be recruited. I dare say that they will command quite significant salaries for their expertise, which may help account for the cost of the projects at £917m… with the expectation that this will achieve additional tax collections of £7bn by 2014/15.

Focus on the right target?

The HMRC (Gareth Hills the ARC President to be precise) seems keen to suggest that each inspector generates 30 times their cost, which is surely a pretty good return if its true. There is some considerable debate about where to focus resources and whether specific departments are necessary, perhaps merely creating bureaucracy. Mike Flemming, tax Director at Straughans is reported as saying that HMRC should focus on £22.3bn in lost taxes due to VAT fraud and incorrect Self-Assessment tax returns – which covers pretty much the rest of the population. So be warned, getting your tax return in on time is important, but not as important as getting it right.