ARC Autumn Statement response: The real economic madness is to not invest in HMRC

Thursday 5 December 2013 

While welcoming the protection to exclude HMRC from the £1 billion reduction in departmental budgets for the next three years, and the broad thrust of measures announced to tackle avoidance, evasion, error and fraud, ARC – the union representing senior staff in HM Revenue and Customs - believes that the Chancellor has been too cautious.

ARC President Gareth Hills said: “ARC welcomes the introduction of a new power requiring taxpayers using avoidance schemes that have already been defeated in the courts to pay the tax they are trying to avoid upfront. However, the Chancellor could have gone further by introducing a penalty or surcharge regime for all users of avoidance schemes on tax finally payable over and above amounts returned as due.

“The Chancellor said it would be economic madness to increase the rate of corporation tax. The real economic madness is that the Chancellor, along with this Government, does not recognise that sustained and additional investment into HMRC is part of the solution to closing the tax gap.

“In not taking up ARC's Budget 2013 proposals of investing £312m for a return of £8bn the Government continues to miss the opportunity to grab the most compelling invest to save argument ever.”

Notes for editors

1. The Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) is a union representing senior staff in HM Revenue and Customs, including tax inspectors, accountants, lawyers, managers and other leading professionals. ARC represents members in HMRC at grade 7 and above, and also trainees in grade 7 entry schemes. It is also a section of the FDA.

2. The FDA is the trade union and professional body representing 19,000 of the UK's senior civil and public servants. Our members include policy advisors, senior managers, tax inspectors, economists, statisticians, accountants, special advisers, government lawyers, diplomats, crown prosecutors and NHS managers.

3. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

4. ARC’s 2013 Budget submission can be read here.

5. For further information contact:
• Kay Hender, Communications Officer, tel: 020 7401 5589 or 07980 700747.