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HMRC chasing more taxpayers through courts

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HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has embraced tougher tax collecting practices despite increasing litigation costs, meaning more tax disputes are appearing in court, new figures have revealed.

The number of cases overseen by the Vat and Duties Tribunal, and the Special Commissioners Tribunal, has soared from 3,146 to 4,311 between 2006 and 2007, with 2007-2008 displaying another 14% increase to 4,897.

The tax office is now more likely to pursue cases in court rather than offer settlements when it believes it has a strong case against a defendant. But experts have claimed that new strategies introduced by the HMRC, and the government’s need to claim back money from the public to service national debts, have forced the revenue to become overly stringent.

“Our updated powers and litigation and settlement strategy ensures that when the principle being contested is clear and well understood, the tax rules are properly enforced,” said a HMRC spokesperson.

But despite the HMRC’s apparent want to head to court, the public have seemingly lost faith in its service, as figures show more than 44m calls to the HMRC went unanswered last year.

Despite employing the equivalent of 10,500 full-time staff at its centres, at a cost of £233m, HMRC still failed to pick up 43% of the 103m calls it received during the year.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

January 31, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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