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HMRC Says The Tax Gap Remains Low

2019/20 figures released ...


Posted by Roger Eddowes on 23/09/2021 @ 8:00AM

In their latest Measuring Tax Gaps bulletin, HMRC has estimated that the difference between the total tax expected and the total amount actually paid for 2019/20 was 5.3%. This equates to roughly £35 billion for that financial year ...

Tax gap impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to be shown for the 2020/21 tax year!

Tax gap impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to be shown for the 2020/21 tax year!

copyright: paddythegolfer / 123rf

The latest Measuring Tax Gaps bulletin reveals that the majority of taxpayers did pay the tax that they owed. So, nearly 95% was paid, and that means the treasury was £633.4 billion better off thanks to UK businesses and individuals.

Some findings from the bulletin:

  • a long-term reduction in the overall tax gap, falling from 7.5% in the 2005/06 tax year to 5.3% in the 2019/20 tax year, with the tax gap remaining low and fairly stable for the fourth year

  • the total tax gap for VAT is £12.3 billion. Statistics show there has been a long-term reduction for the VAT gap from 14.0% in the 2005 to 2006 tax year to 8.4% in the 2019 to 2020 tax year

  • 43% (£15.1 billion) of the tax gap is attributed to small businesses, whereas wealthy customers and individuals account for the smallest share of the tax gap at 4% (£1.5 billion) and 7% (£2.6 billion), respectively

  • the tax gap for wealthy individuals fell from £1.6 billion in the 2018 to 2019 tax year to £1.5 billion in the 2019 to 2020 tax year

  • 'failure to take reasonable care' accounts for the largest proportion of the tax gap at 19% (£6.7 billion), whereas avoidance is the smallest proportion of the tax gap at 4% (£1.5 billion)

  • the Inheritance Tax gap has decreased from an estimated £425 million (7.4%) in 2018/19 to £350 million (6.3%) in the 2019 to 2020 tax year

Impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to be shown for the 2020/21 tax year, published in next year's Measuring Tax Gaps bulletin.

HMRC say it's very important for them to be transparent in everything they do, so publish the bulletin every year. They are one of only two tax authorities anywhere in the world who do this.

I'll be very interested to see the 2020/21 Measuring Tax Gaps bulletin.

Until next time ...

Business Godparent


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About Roger Eddowes ...


Roger trained at Edward Thomas Peirson & Sons in Market Harborough before working at Hartwell & Co, followed by Chancery, as a partner. He started Essendon Accounts and Tax with Helen Beaumont in 2014 as a general practitioner with a hands-on approach.

Roger loves getting his hands dirty, working with emerging, small-to-medium and family businesses to ensure they receive the best possible accountancy advice. Roger utilises an extensive network of business contacts to leverage the best guidance and practical solutions.