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UK Customs And Inland Revenue Departments May Merge

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

18 November 2003


Recent reports in the UK media have suggested that the government is considering merging the country's Customs and Inland Revenue Departments.

Following an announcement earlier this year that a review of both departments would be conducted in order to make the best use of government resources, and to create "a new framework for accountability for those working on tax", the possibility of a merger has been raised by many observers as a likely end result.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) suggested that:

"The 'right' merger between the two bodies is welcome. The tax side, VAT, duties, the climate change levy and landfill tax among others, of Customs and Excise should be merged with the Inland Revenue."

"But my main concern is that we will end up with a 'big brother' monstrosity with all the bovver-boy attitudes we have tried to squeeze out of Customs and Excise and the most intrusive and draconian powers of both organisations melded into one, with none of the taxpayer-focused helpful elements left."

He went on to add that:

"I will be taking this concern forward to government in no uncertain terms. Any merger should create efficiencies for business and the taxpayer, not...create a big stick."

However, an Inland Revenue spokesman refused to confirm or deny the possibility of a merger, telling the Telegraph that: "The reason for the review was to improve services to taxpayers. Nothing has been ruled in or ruled out."


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