Merger of Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise


The Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise have been merged into a new department called Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (HMRC).  The Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 provides for the appointment of Commissioners to Commissioners of Customs and Excise.  The Act also established a new Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office (RCPO) to prosecute HMRC cases in England and Wales.  It is intended that the creation of RCPO will:-


    • Demonstrate the full independence of the prosecutors and ensure that the public can have confidence in their credibility and integrity;


    • Introduce external scrutiny of criminal investigation work;


    • Improve standards and effectiveness; and make the staff of the office, through the Director, accountable to the Attorney General.




Traditionally it has been left to Revenue & Customs officers to decide whether to prefer criminal charges and if so, what charges to prefer and against whom.  Decisions on whether to prosecute have now been handed over entirely to the RCPO who will advise investigators from the earliest possible stage so that the right evidence is collected, the strongest case is built and the right charge is chosen first time.


Since the merger, HMRC have set up a new Criminal Taxes Unit (CTU) which will work with the police, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Assets Recovery Agency to identify those who have amassed wealth from crime but have paid little of tax crime, HMRC are considering in more detail how this could be implemented.


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