25 Mar 2018

HMRC’s challenge with cross-border recovery

07 March 2018

Brexit blizzard


  • Is HMRC taking on too many challenges?
  • A ‘no deal’ Brexit will require extra tax resources.
  • The Mutual Assistance Recovery Directive (MARD) allows for the recovery of various taxes.
  • Processing requests for assistance to collect revenue is an extra burden on tax authorities.
  • The amounts pursued have doubled in four years to €67m.
  • HMRC has been able to recover only 2% of the amounts for which assistance was requested.
  • The demands of Brexit will add to HMRC’s workload.

Since the June 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union, there have been few certainties about Britain’s future relationship with its soon-to-be former partners. That lack of clarity appears to have meant nothing but trouble for HMRC. In January, an influential group of MPs accused the Revenue of being ‘unrealistic’ in claiming that it would meet a range of objectives – improving performance, tackling evasion and avoidance as well as undergoing substantial transformation – in a time of change.

Meg Hillier, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, proclaimed: ‘What was already a precarious high-wire act is now being battered by the winds of Brexit.’ Taking on so many coincidental challenges brought the risk of ‘potentially catastrophic consequences’. Any deterioration in performance, she added, ‘would be wholly unacceptable’.


More help needed

The comments by Ms Hillier followed HMRC’s chief executive, Jon Thompson, stating that his department required considerable extra resources – up to £450...

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