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Tax double bill on TV and radio tonight

A double dose of tax in the media this evening will make interesting viewing and listening for anyone with an interest in the tax system – and looks set to provide an uncomfortable hour for HMRC.

At 8pm tonight Radio 4’s The Report will broadcast claims by HMRC insiders that up to £1.5 billion of unpaid tax is set to be written off.

This is of course a reference to the huge backlog of unreconciled cases from before 2008-9 all of which will need to be manually reconciled as they date from before the new NPS system.

There is already an article on the BBC website about the claims, which quotes anonymous HMRC front-line staff saying that only those cases which verge on fraud will be pursued.

However HMRC have responded that no decision has yet been made on underpayment cases. A spokesman has told the Beeb that overpayments will be paid back but underpayments are being “set aside for a future decision”.

The CIOT’s John Whiting was on BBC Breakfast and Radio 5 Live this morning talking about the issue. The CIOT’s Tina Riches is among those who have been interviewed for the programme.

By coincidence ITV’s Tonight programme is broadcasting its special report – ‘Tax: The Inside Story’ for the previous half hour.

Kicking off at 7.30pm the show is billed as follows:

‘With millions of people across the UK paying the wrong amount of tax and billions of pounds going uncollected, Morland Sanders investigates the workings of HM Revenue & Customs’

John Whiting was interviewed for the show at CIOT headquarters earlier this week.

Following broadcast (i.e. from tomorrow) both shows should be available online:
The Report, BBC Radio 4 (available for the foreseeable future – currently shows dating back to April 2009 are available)
Tonight (Tax: The InsideStory), ITV (go to ITV Player and search for Tonight - available only until Thursday 30 September 2010)

George Crozier, CIOT External Relations Manager, 23/09/10


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