By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants. The Money Matters column appears in the Pembrokeshire Herald, the Carmarthenshire Herald and the Llanelli Herald newspapers.
The taxman at HMRC has published a report showing that the UK tax gap in 2017/18 is estimated to be £35 billion.
This is 5.6% of total theoretical tax liabilities, and a small increase of 0.1% from 5.5% in 2016/17. HMRC therefore secured 94.4% of all tax due.
The tax gap is the difference between the amount of tax that should be paid to HMRC compared to what is actually paid.
Further details in the report show:
- the overall tax gap has fallen from 7.2% since 2005/06
- the duty-only excise tax gap has reduced from 8.4 % in 2005/06 to 5.1% in 2017/18
- the corporation tax gap has reduced from 12.5% in 2005/06 to 8.1% in 2017/18.
Jesse Norman MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “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.”
The report advises that the majority of taxpayers want to get their tax right, but many are still finding this hard, with avoidable mistakes costing the Exchequer more than £9.9 billion a year.
HMRC advise that £3 billion of this is attributable to VAT alone.
With the introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT, HMRC anticipates that the tax lost due to avoidable errors will be reduced because of the improved accuracy that digital records provide.
Meanwhile, latest statistics show that two-thirds of EU citizens that are currently in the UK are here for work.
The government is advising that if these individuals plan to remain living and working in the UK, after it leaves the EU, they can now apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
EU, EEA, or Swiss employees, and their family members, can apply to the EUSS if they want to continue to live, work, and study in the UK after 31 December 2020.
This applies whether UK leave the EU with a deal or with a ‘no deal’. Under the scheme, successful applications will be granted either settled or pre-settled status.
Status depends on how long they have been living in the UK when they apply.
In both cases, they can continue to work in the UK, use public services like the NHS, and access public funds such as pensions.
Irish citizens do not need to apply.
The government has created an employer toolkit to help EU citizens with their application.
The toolkit includes items such as posters and videos and information on how to apply.
Employers do not have any obligation to share any information or even check whether employees have applied.
However, they may wish to offer reassurance to their employees and make sure they have the right information. Employers have a duty not to discriminate against EU citizens with regards to the UK’s decision to leave the EU, both as a prospective and current employer.
The employer toolkit is here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-employer-toolkit
You can find out more about money matters on the Clay Shaw Butler website (under our news for business section) – http://www.clayshawbutler.com/news/latest-news-for-business
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