Hm Revenue and Customs: Tax Credits and Income Tax

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The Stationery Office, Mar 24, 2009 - Business & Economics - 43 pages
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In this report the Committee of Public Accounts examines HM Revenue and Customs' (the Department) administration of tax credits and also examines the Department on its collection of income tax through PAYE and Self Assessment. The Department overpaid 7.3 billion in the first four years of the tax credits scheme and underpaid more than 2.0 billion. By the end of March 2008, it had collected 2.7 billion (37 per cent) of this debt and written off 1 billion (14 per cent). 3.6 billion of the total of overpayments are outstanding and the Department is unlikely to recover 1.8 billion. Overpayments continue to affect many people, including some of the most vulnerable in society. Claimants are not given the support they need in making claims and too much is assumed on the part of claimants in their understanding the complex tax credits system. Tax credits suffer from high rates of error and fraud: in 2006-07 claimant error and fraud is estimated to have led to incorrect payments of between 1.31 billion and 1.54 billion. In 2007-08, the Department collected 225 billion in income tax and national insurance contributions through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system. The planned transfer of the administration of PAYE to its National Insurance Recording System has been delayed, adding to the backlog of tax cases - currently 16 million - that must be checked manually. In 2007-08, the Department collected 30.2 billion (net) through the Self Assessment system. A total of 46 per cent of Self Assessment returns were filed online, significantly exceeding the 35 per cent target, though some 34 per cent of filed returns may be inaccurate, putting between 2.9 billion to 3.7 billion tax at risk.

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