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Who are HMRC?

February 19, 2024

To many people, 'HMRC' (HM Revenue and Customs) is an organisation shrouded in mystery. After all, a run of initial letters as a name, rather than the familiar and straightforward description of 'Inland Revenue' that preceded it, is a backwards step from familiarity, to the point where many people still use the original name to describe the organisation that collects their taxes.

In the early part of the new millennium the public were presented with a bowler-hatted individual using the voice of Adam Hart Davis in the award winning 'Tax doesn't have to be Taxing' adverts. However, there was little emphasis in informing the public of the change in identity that followed the merger of the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise in 2005, accordingly generating the new identity.

Since the cartoon character shown in the adverts, clearly now fading from memory, and then, for a while, newscaster Moira Stuart, there has been no no recognisable public face of HMRC. And, any Chancellor in place, while no doubt privately having the final say as to their affairs, will probably not want to be seen as chief ’tax collector’ by publicly heading up the organisation. This can only increase the air of mystery surrounding it and, indeed, to many people it can lead to a fear of contact, even for general advice, regardless of the state of their tax affairs.

This is how HMRC describe themselves:

"We are the UK’s tax, payments and customs authority, and we have a vital purpose: we collect the money that pays for the UK’s public services and help families and individuals with targeted financial support. We do this by being impartial and increasingly effective and efficient in our administration. We help the honest majority to get their tax right and make it hard for the dishonest minority to cheat the system.”

And these, in their own words, are their responsibilities:

  • Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, Insurance Premium Tax, Stamp, Land and Petroleum Revenue Taxes
  • environmental taxes
  • climate change and aggregates levy and landfill tax
  • Value Added Tax (VAT), including import VAT
  • customs duty
  • excise duties
  • trade statistics
  • National Insurance
  • tax credits
  • Child Benefit
  • enforcement of the National Minimum Wage
  • recovery of Student Loan repayments
  • anti-money laundering supervision

Use of the Taxeezy tax return service essentially 'bridges the gap' in instantly providing detailed advice during preparation of the tax return, not available via the HMRC online filing system and very time consuming, if not impossible, to obtain via their traditional contact methods. Taxeezy does this for a low fee, which includes filing the tax return and supporting it for one year. Accordingly, with use of the service, the issue of 'Who are HMRC?' tends to fade into one of simple curiosity.

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