Improvement On The Tax Gap

In Britain, we are one of the only countries in the world to be honest and open about the tax gap in our country and by publishing it in detail regularly, it has helped to keep this gap as small as possible. Especially as since publication began, the gap has only got smaller and smaller.

The tax figures published by HMRC shows the tax gap for the 2016-17 tax year was 5.7%. The tax gap is the difference between the amount of tax due and the amount collected by the Exchequer. The gap includes any tax that has been avoided in what is called the UK’s black economy. This includes things such as criminal activity and the use of tax avoidance and evasion schemes.

The 5.7% figure recorded was the same for the 2015-16 tax year. This is however significantly less than the 7.3% tax gap recorded when figures were first published in 2005-06. In a press release published by HMRC, we were informed that if the tax gap had actually remained the same as it was in 2005-06, then the country would have lost £71 billion in revenue.

The HMRC’s publication- Measuring The Tax Gap, had some key findings. These include:

  • The largest proportion of unpaid tax by customer group was from small businesses where the amount stood at £13.7 billion.
  • £9.2 billion of unpaid taxes by behaviour was made up of taxpayer errors and failure to take reasonable care.
  • Criminal attacks made up £5.4 billion of unpaid taxes by behaviour.
  • National Insurance Contributions, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax made up the largest proportion of the tax gap by tax type as it was 16.4% of all Self Assessment liabilities and the amount was £7.9 billion for 2016 to 2017.
  • The VAT gap showed a declining trend over time. It was 8.9% in 2016 to 2017 when it was 12.5% in 2005 to 2006

There is an aim to make the tax gap even lower with the introduction of Making Tax Digital. This new regime will require all businesses and individuals to register, file, pay and update their information by using a new online tax account.

HMRC’s Chief Executive has commented on the fact that the UK is the only country globally to regularly publish their tax gap in detail and as it has remained low he has said he is “pleased that the downward trend shows HMRC and HM Treasury’s continued hard work to tackle evasion and avoidance is working.”

Here at Aston Black, we can help with paying all your taxes on time and with ease. Just give us a call on 01908 046 964 or request a free call back from one of our qualified accountants in Milton Keynes via our website.