THE MOST staff in four years left HM Revenue & Customs over the last 12 months, top 20 firm UHY Hacker Young has found.
Almost 1,700 staff left the taxman in 2012/13, the highest number since 2008/9. This year’s figure is up slightly from the 1,629 who quit in 2011/12, standing at 1,697.
At a senior level, HMRC lost nine key civil servants, the highest number for five years. The greatest losses were in personal tax which had 1,238 resignations. The benefits and credits department also took a hefty hit, with more than treble the number of resignations compared to the previous year, with 138 leaving in 2012/13 up from 40 in 2011/12.
UHY Hacker Young tax partner Roy Maugham said: “HMRC has come in for some stinging criticism recently over its performance and it seems to be taking some time for staff morale to be restored.”
“It is now under so much pressure to target tax evasion and avoidance that it has been forced to shift more of its budget towards dealing with enforcement, and so it has less capacity to deal with run of the mill enquiries from customers.”
“It’s vital that HMRC focuses on continuously improving its service to ensure individuals and businesses to pay their correct share of tax, but it’s hard pressed to achieve this with such high staff turnover going on.”
HMRC said the figures could be misleading, however.
A spokesman for HMRC said:”Like all large organisations, it is inevitable that some of HMRC’s 64,000 staff will leave or retire, whilst others will join. This has not affected performance – the most accurate measure of the tax gap shows it is going down, last year’s yield was our biggest ever, and we carried out over 700 prosecutions. Since 2010 almost a £1bn has been invested in HMRC to police the tax rules and more people are employed in our compliance posts than before.
“The popularity of our on-line services has enabled us to move staff away from the mass processing work of the past into more specialised and skilled work of tackling evasion and avoidance.”