An Organisation for all
Accountants in Practice

HMRC Single Department Plan 2015 to 2020


£3.5bn Total Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) in financial year 2015 to 2016

This includes £3.3bn resource DEL and £0.1bn capital DEL.

Source: Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015.


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.

Our management


  1. Maximise revenues due and bear down on avoidance and evasion
  2. Transform tax and payments for our customers
  3. Design and deliver a professional, efficient and engaged organisation

1. Maximise revenues due and bear down on avoidance and evasion

Lead minister: David Gauke, Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Lead official: Lin Homer, HMRC Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary

1.1 What HMRC is doing

The vast majority of people and businesses in the UK pay the tax they owe and do not attempt to avoid their responsibilities. Nevertheless, where it exists, tax evasion and avoidance damage the ability of the tax system to raise revenue fairly and impose additional costs on all honest taxpayers.

This government has been relentless in its crackdown on tax evasion and avoidance, taking action to prevent such behaviour at the outset, and to detect and counter it effectively where it persists. During the last Parliament, HMRC secured £100 billion in additional compliance revenue as a result of actions taken to tackle evasion, avoidance and non-compliance.

But there is more to do. Over this Parliament we will maximise revenues due and bear down on tax avoidance, tax evasion and other non-compliance through well-designed tax policy, a transformed compliance strategy and effective delivery through digital channels.

We will focus on:

  • building on our success in collecting £517.7 billion in total revenues over 2014 to 2015 (last full year for which figures are available)
  • investing £800 million into additional work to tackle evasion and non-compliance in the tax system
  • transforming our approach to compliance, using our ‘promote, prevent, respond’ strategy to tackle non-compliance – our aim is to:
    • promote compliance by designing it into systems and processes
    • prevent non-compliance at or near the time of filing
    • respond to non-compliance through well designed delivery
  • using our data more efficiently – making the wealth of data we hold work better for HMRC and our customers, so we can we can identify the root causes of non-compliance among different customer groups and deliver digital services that make things easier for them and for HMRC
  • stopping non-compliance before it happens – more frequent reporting will lead to fewer errors and less opportunity to evade tax obligations, while new powers to acquire information from online intermediaries and increased sanctions for offshore evasion will allow us to address tax risks more effectively

We will also:

  • raise an additional £5 billion a year by 2019 to 2020 by tackling tax avoidance and tax planning, evasion and compliance, and by addressing imbalances in the tax system
  • ensure global companies pay their fair share in tax by supporting the government’s leading role in the reform of international tax rules
  • review the international country-by-country tax reporting rules and consider the case for making this information publicly available on a multilateral basis
  • support the government in making it a crime when companies fail to put in place measures to stop tax evasion in their organisation, making sure that penalties are large enough to punish and deter
  • continue to ensure that developing countries have full access to global automatic tax information exchange systems and continue to build the capacity of tax authorities in developing countries

1.2 How HMRC is doing

This section sets out our intended approach to tracking our performance against this objective during 2016 to 2017.

Raising compliance revenue

We will continue to deliver additional compliance revenues through our compliance and enforcement activity, building on the target of £26.3 billion set to be raised over 2015 to 2016. The annual compliance yield target will be set at each Budget, and will set the target for 2016 to 2017 at Budget 2016.

Increasing the number of criminal prosecutions

We will increase the number of criminal investigations that HMRC can undertake into serious and complex tax crime, focusing particularly on wealthy individuals and corporates, with the aim of increasing prosecutions in this area to 100 a year by the end of the Parliament.

Tackling tax credits error and fraud

We will continue to identify and prevent losses in the tax credits system to tackle error and fraud. We will set tax credits error and fraud targets for the year ahead annually, and will set the target for 2016 to 2017 before the start of the year. Progress against this target is tracked one year in arrears.

2. Transform tax and payments for our customers

Lead minister: David Gauke, Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Lead official: Lin Homer, HMRC Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary

2.1 What HMRC is doing

We will transform the tax system over the Parliament by introducing simple, secure and personalised digital tax accounts, removing the need for annual tax returns. This will give individuals, businesses and their authorised agents a more convenient real-time view of their tax affairs, providing them with greater certainty about the tax they owe and payments they are due to receive. These reforms will deliver the biggest transformation of the tax system in a generation, making it more effective, efficient and easier for taxpayers.

We will focus on:

  • investing £1.3 billion to transform HMRC into one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world, finishing the delivery of our multi-channel digital services so we become a ‘digital- by- default’ organisation
  • delivering digital tax accounts, enabling customers and their authorised agents to see all their tax affairs in one place, and be able to check at any time that their details are complete and correct. Customers will be able to update tax information and tax credits and Child Benefit payments information through their digital tax account, while the interest earned on savings will be updated automatically without the need for customer input
  • ensuring that by 2020 taxpayers will be able to see their complete financial picture in their digital account, just like they do in their online banking, with most businesses, self-employed people and landlords keeping track of their tax affairs digitally and updating HMRC at least quarterly via their digital tax account, as well as access for their authorised agents
  • ensuring the availability of a range of third party software products, to include free products for the most straightforward businesses, that link securely to HMRC systems
  • putting in place support for those customers – individuals and businesses – who want to use digital services, but are unable to, and make provisions for those who are genuinely digitally-excluded so that they remain able to get the support they need
  • contributing towards our objective of maximising revenues by delivering around £1 billion of additional tax revenue by 2020 to 2021 by making it easier to pay the correct tax and reducing error

We will also:

  • continue working with HM Treasury and the Department of Work and Pensions on the transition to Universal Credit, making this as smooth as possible for claimants
  • continue preparing to implement tax-free childcare to support parents back into work or to work more hours

2.2 How HMRC is doing

This section sets out our intended approach to tracking our performance against this objective during 2016 to 2017.

Delivery of our multi-channel digital services

By April 2016 individuals will have access to their own personal digital tax account. Over the next 4 years, HMRC will gradually increase the take-up rate of the tax account as the range of its online services expands.

We will ensure that by April 2016 every small business customer in the country will have access to their own digital tax account, and that by 2019 to 2020, most small businesses will be interacting with HMRC systems directly via accounting software, with roll out completed by 2020 to 2021.

Improvement in customer services

Through our digital transformation, we will improve customer service and track this improvement across a range of customer-focused measures. These will cover:

  • our current call attempts handled target, alongside customer call wait times and post handling response times
  • service standards on accessibility, timeliness, quality and first contact resolution for all contact channels, alongside customer satisfaction for the digital experience
  • measures to evaluate our effectiveness at directing customers toward digital channels where appropriate

We will set customer service targets for 2016 to 2017 before the start of the year.

Reducing business costs

We will reduce the annual cost of tax administration to businesses by £400 million by 2019 to 2020.

3. Design and deliver a professional, efficient and engaged organisation

Lead minister: David Gauke, Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Lead official: Lin Homer, HMRC Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary

3.1 What HMRC is doing

We are improving and changing the way we work to increase productivity and at the same time maximise efficiency savings.

We are making sure we have the right people, in the right place, doing the right work with the right skills and IT, managed by motivated and capable leaders.

We will focus on:

  • developing our people to be professional and motivated with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide a seamless service in a digital world
  • engaging our people by ensuring they are valued for their skills, knowledge and expertise and that they have the right tools to do their job and deliver outcomes
  • delivering cutting-edge corporate services – having effective and efficient support services will be key to ensuring that we have the essential foundation for successful delivery as an organisation
  • modernising our IT so that it supports the delivery of our transformation
  • providing modern offices that are fit for our people now and in the future, based across the UK

3.2 How HMRC is doing

This section sets out our intended approach to tracking our performance against this objective during 2016 to 2017.

Making sustainable savings

We will deliver sustainable cost savings of £717 million a year by the end of 2019 to 2020, amounting to a total of £1.9 billion in cumulative sustainable efficiency savings over this Parliament, through the digitisation of tax collection and by employing a smaller but more highly skilled workforce.

Engaging and developing our staff

We will improve employee engagement by continuing to work towards our ambition of achieving the Civil Service Employee Engagement Index benchmark, which in 2014 was 59%.

We will increase the percentage of employees who feel they have the skills required to do their job effectively.

Delivering efficiently in HMRC

What HMRC is doing

We are committed to reducing our operating costs during this Parliament, while continuing to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our services by:

  • delivering robust, simple, multi-channel digital services for our customers, such as digital tax accounts, which all our customers will have access to by the end of 2016
  • exploiting data to improve compliance, personalise customer services and enable better policy making
  • modernising and developing our IT systems, reducing maintenance costs and providing cutting-edge tools for our people
  • continuing to transform our estate into modern, adaptable workspaces, creating 13 new regional centres over the next five years, serving every nation and region in the UK – these centres will bring staff into more cost-effective buildings while making it easier for HMRC teams to collaborate and modernise the way they work

How HMRC is working collaboratively across government

We will work collaboratively with Cabinet Office, HM Treasury and other government departments to deliver transformational change in key areas, including:

  • developing digital solutions that meet common standards set by the Government Digital Service and utilise cross-government platforms wherever this demonstrates the best value-for-money solution for government
  • rationalising our estate in a joined-up way, looking to develop ‘government hubs’ with other government departments, releasing land for housing where possible and participating in the development of the new commercial property model
  • delivering savings in our commercial relationships including through spend on common goods and services, delivered in partnership with Crown Commercial Services; continuing to build our commercial capability and working with Crown Commercial Services to deliver the government’s commitment to 33% of spend with SMEs by 2020
  • working in partnership with: the Cabinet Office to deliver arm’s length bodies (ALB) transformation plans; Infrastructure and Projects Authority on major projects programmes and prioritisation; and seeking to reduce losses through fraud and error alongside developing a debt management strategy

Published February 2016