New Research: The cost of collecting tax has barely fallen in over 50 years

May 20, 2012 11:00 AM

We can today reveal that over half a century there has been no significant reduction in the costs of raising each pound of tax in Britain since 1958. This is after decades of new technology and improvement in productivity in the wider economy.

Click here to read the full report


HMRC has failed to collect tax more efficiently despite inventions such as the first handheld calculator in 1967; the microprocessor in 1971; Microsoft Windows in 1985; and the World Wide Web in the 1990s. Even after all these new time saving inventions the cost of collecting tax has only fallen by two per cent in just over 50 years. 

It cost £1.16 to raise a £100 in tax revenue in 1958, 50 years later it cost £1.14:



The UK’s tax system is far too complicated. It places a huge burden on families and businesses across the UK creating a costly tax bureaucracy. The costs of collecting tax in the UK in 2009 were substantially higher than other OECD nations:


Click here to read the full report



Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
It’s staggering that we haven’t seen any real fall in the official estimate in the cost of collecting tax over half a century. With all the technological innovations in between, it’s hard to believe that HMRC’s work costs just as much as it did before even calculators were invented. The UK’s tax system is broken, and is just as burdensome for the taxman as it is for taxpayers.”


We can today reveal that over half a century there has been no significant reduction in the costs of raising each pound of tax in Britain since 1958. This is after decades of new technology and improvement in productivity in the wider economy.

Click here to read the full report


HMRC has failed to collect tax more efficiently despite inventions such as the first handheld calculator in 1967; the microprocessor in 1971; Microsoft Windows in 1985; and the World Wide Web in the 1990s. Even after all these new time saving inventions the cost of collecting tax has only fallen by two per cent in just over 50 years. 

It cost £1.16 to raise a £100 in tax revenue in 1958, 50 years later it cost £1.14:



The UK’s tax system is far too complicated. It places a huge burden on families and businesses across the UK creating a costly tax bureaucracy. The costs of collecting tax in the UK in 2009 were substantially higher than other OECD nations:


Click here to read the full report



Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
It’s staggering that we haven’t seen any real fall in the official estimate in the cost of collecting tax over half a century. With all the technological innovations in between, it’s hard to believe that HMRC’s work costs just as much as it did before even calculators were invented. The UK’s tax system is broken, and is just as burdensome for the taxman as it is for taxpayers.”


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