UK revenue collection at risk due to computer delay

Dhaka,  Thu,  24 August 2017
Published : 13 Jul 2017, 16:30:51 | Updated : 13 Jul 2017, 16:30:56

UK revenue collection at risk due to computer delay

The collection of £34bn in tax revenue will be put at risk if a much-delayed new computer system for the UK authorities is not functioning by the time Britain leaves the EU, parliament’s spending watchdog has warned.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, also said the government was only just beginning to become aware of the scale of the administrative task of Brexit, which he described as “probably the biggest challenge to government’s capability in peacetime”, according to a global media report Thursday.

HM Revenue & Customs is meant to install a new computer system to collect duties and process customs declarations by January 2019 - two months before the UK is due to leave the EU.

In a report due to be published today, the NAO said there was a “risk of disruption” to the flow of goods between the UK and the EU if the system called the Customs Declaration Service was not in place by March 2019. “There is a risk to the accurate collection of revenue (excise, customs duty and VAT) currently worth £34bn,” it added.

The £34bn is the approximate value of customs and excise duties and VAT collected by HMRC at the border each year.

When it began the CDS computer programme, HMRC expected to replace its existing system by early 2017, but the timetable slipped for reasons that included changes to the main database and software provider. If the CDS is not ready on time, the contingency options include expanding the capacity of the existing system. 

- SZ

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