Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is a non-ministerial department of the UK Government responsible for the collection of taxes and the payment of some forms of state support. HMRC was formed by the merger of the Inland Revenue and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise which took effect on 18 April 2005. The department's logo is the St Edward's Crown enclosed within a circle.
Departmental responsibilities: The department is responsible for the administration and collection of direct taxes including income tax and corporation tax, capital taxes such as capital gains tax and inheritance tax, indirect taxes (including value added tax), excise duties and stamp duty land tax, and environmental taxes such as air passenger duty and the climate change levy. Other aspects of the department's responsibilities include National Insurance contributions, the distribution of child benefit and some other forms of state support including the Child Trust Fund, payments of Tax Credits, enforcement of the national minimum wage and collection and publication of the trade-in-goods statistics. Responsibility for the protection of the UK's borders passed to the UK Border Agency within the Home Office on 1 April 2008.
HMRC has two overarching Public Service Agreement targets for the period 2008–2011:
Improve the extent to which individuals and businesses pay the tax due and receive the credits and payments to which they are entitled
Improve customers' experiences of HMRC and improve the UK business environment
Powers of officers: HMRC is a law enforcement agency which has a strong cadre of Criminal Investigators responsible for investigating Serious Organised Fiscal Crime. This includes all of the previous HMCE criminal work (other than drug trafficking) such as Tobacco Alcohol and Oils smuggling. They have aligned their previous Customs and Excise powers to tackle previous Inland Revenue criminal offences. They are responsible for seizing (or preventing the loss of) billions of stolen pounds of HMG's revenue. Their skills and resources include the full range of intrusive and covert surveillance and they are a senior partner in the Organized Crime Partnership Board.
HMRC inland detection officers have wide-ranging powers of arrest, entry, search and detention. The main power is to detain anyone who has committed, or who the officer has reasonable grounds to suspect has committed, any offence under the Customs and Excise Acts. The current Director of Criminal Investigations for the department is former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Roy Clark.
HMRC is also listed under parts of the British Government which contribute to intelligence collection, analysis and assessment. Their prosecution cases may be coordinated with the Police, the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office or the Crown Prosecution Service.
Performance: HMRC collected £435.7 billion for The Treasury in 2008/09. At the end of March 2009, HMRC was managing 20 million 'open' cases (where the Department’s systems identify discrepancies in taxpayer records or are unable to match a return to a record) which could affect around 4.5 million individuals who may have overpaid in total some £1.6 billion of tax and a further 1.5 million individuals who may have underpaid in total some £400 million of tax. In 2007–08 HMRC overpaid tax credits to the value of £1 billion; at the end of March 2009, HMRC had £4.4 billion of overpayments to be recovered.