HMRC gets £163m ‘capacity boost’ in Autumn Statement

Treasury says funding will be focused on debt-management capability

By Jim Dunton

23 Nov 2023

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has allocated an additional £163m in funding to HM Revenue and Customs to support the department’s work to reduce the so-called “tax gap” between what is owed to the national coffers and what is collected. 

The move, which is part of the package of measures set out in Hunt’s Autumn Statement yesterday, is intended to help HMRC to “better target” people with tax debts they can afford to pay rather than those who are unable to settle their bills. 

Hunt referred to the boost alongside his call for the public sector to increase productivity growth by 0.5% a year in his statement to parliament. 

The chancellor said he would “provide HMRC with the resources they need to ensure everyone pays the tax they owe, raising an additional £5bn across the forecast period”. 

A Treasury document supporting the Autumn Statement said the “forecast period” Hunt was referring is the next five years, as part of the Tackling the Tax Gap programme.  

The document said the £163m in additional funding for HMRC would allow officials to provide better support to taxpayers unable to pay what they owe – as well as securing payment from those in a better position.  

It added: “HMRC will also expand its debt-management capacity to support both individual and business taxpayers out of debt faster and collect debts that are due.” 

Other Tackling the Tax Gap measures outlined in the Autumn Statement promised new legislation to combat those who promote tax-avoidance schemes, including powers enabling HMRC to bring disqualification action against directors of companies. 

Additionally, the autumn finance bill 2023 will require employers, company directors and the self-employed to provide new data to HMRC from the 2025-26 tax year, which the Treasury said would “enable better outcomes for citizens and businesses”. 

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