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UK's total tax revenue grows 3.6% to over £620bn

Total tax revenue for the UK increased by 3.6 per cent on the year to £627.9 billion in 2018-19.

UK's total tax revenue grows 3.6% to over £620bn
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HMRC has reported a record-breaking amount of tax revenue in 2018-19, up 3.6 per cent on the year to £627.9 billion. 

The total includes £34.1 billion in additional tax generated by tackling avoidance, evasion and non-compliance, against a target of £30.0 billion, the HMRC said in a report issued late last week. Of that, 39 per cent resulted from HMRC identifying past non-compliance, while 27 per cent was generated from disrupting fraudulent repayment claims and other criminal activity. 

The HMRC reported a slight increase in the tax gap, which stood at 5.6 per cent in 2017-18 (the latest figure available), up 0.1 per cent on the previous year. 

This means that HMRC collected 94.4 per cent of all the tax due under the law in 2017-18. Overall, the tax gap has fallen from 7.2 per cent since 2005-06.

"The UK’s low tax gap underlines both how the vast majority of people are paying the correct amount of tax, and how effective HM Revenue and Customs has been in its efforts to clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance," said Jesse Norman, Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

HMRC misses customer service targets 

In terms of customer service, the HMRC reported it received 42.7 million calls in 2018-19, but said that the pressures of preparing for Brexit caused it to slightly miss some of its customer service targets.

"We slightly missed some of our customer service targets: including the average speed in answering calls and turning around our post," the HMRC admitted. 

"Recruitment challenges and our need to divert resources towards EU exit work were significant factors in this."

According to its data, the average time to answer a call rose to 5:14 minutes, rising significantly from 4:28 minutes last year and above the target of five minutes. Moreover, 19.7 per cent of callers waited over 10 minutes to speak to an adviser, up from 14.6 per cent last year. 

Nevertheless, 80.4 per cent of customers said they were satisfied or very satisfied with HMRC’s digital services. 

Additionally, the HMRC revealed it cost £4 billion to run the department in 2018-19. 

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