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The UK is losing billions yet a weak HMRC pretends it’s fine

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Every year, HMRC publish their estimate of the tax gap – the amount of tax they claim is lost though avoidance, evasion, omission and error.

At £35bn, the government’s official estimate of tax losses is now the highest it has ever been in cash terms since figures were first published in 2008. That is £673m a week if you wanted to paint it on the side of a big red bus - almost 3 times the police budget which stands at £12.3bn. Worryingly these estimates have been increasing sharply in recent years. The tax gap has increased by 17 per cent since 2016 when the figure was £30bn.

If you think that sounds bad, the reality is much worse.

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If you dive into the detail of HMRC’s research, you quickly see that the tax gap is not a measure of tax avoidance that anyone would recognise. For example, the way in which HMRC calculates the tax gap specifically excludes profit shifting by multinational companies, the kind of tax avoidance strategies used by Google, Starbucks, Facebook and others.


© Independent