Exploring the feasibility of measuring awareness and the wider impacts of Taskforce activityAuthors: Karl King, Kate Slater, Zakia Bassou
Project team: Sharon Collard (PFRC), Alison Radevsky, Laura Balla, Kathryn Smith
Databuild Research and Solutions Funded by: HM Revenue & Customs
Published by: HM Revenue & Customs
Publication date: May 2013
In 2010, the coalition government initiated a spending review for the years 2011/12 through to 2014/15. The review was driven by the government’s commitment to reduce government spending in order to cut the budget deficit. As part of the spending review, ministers agreed to reinvest £900m over the four years to 2014/15 in order to combat tax avoidance, evasion and fraud.
Following the Spending Review 2010 settlement, HMRC made a commitment to bring in £7 billion in additional revenues a year by 2014/15 by transforming its work against avoidance, evasion and criminal attack.
To support the achievement of this commitment, HMRC launched a programme of taskforce activity in 2011/12 – compliance interventions targeted at specific trade groups in specific geographic locations across the UK. Taskforce interventions involve specialist teams visiting traders, usually at their business premises, to examine their records and carry out other investigations.
HMRC has an established mechanism for assessing attitudes towards compliance – the Compliance Perceptions Survey (CPS). The CPS questions have also been successfully adapted for use in assessing the impact of campaigns on taxpayer attitudes towards compliance. HMRC was interested, therefore, to understand whether a similar approach could be adopted to examine the deterrent effects of taskforce activity.
In spring 2013, HMRC commissioned Databuild Research and Solutions Ltd to explore the feasibility of measuring awareness of taskforce activity and any associated change in attitudes towards compliance. Databuild delivered the work in partnership with PFRC Director Sharon Collard, who was responsible for developing the CPS.
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