Arguably the most influential department of the UK government, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (also referred to as HM Revenue and Customs, or perhaps known as HMRC) is organisation tasked with the collection of taxes within Britain. For this very reason, it is one of the most contacted and complained about bodies in the country, while also being one of the most relied upon.
Formed when Inland Revenue and Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise were merged as part of streamlining operations in 2005, HMRC is also responsible for the administration of schemes such as the minimum wage and National Insurance in addition to collecting VAT, income tax and various other forms of taxation.
HMRC has its head offices based at 100 Parliament Street, London, and is currently responsible for employing around 67,000 people, with an estimated £4 billion budget. Perhaps more than any other branch of the government, HMRC has been heavily influenced by the financial crisis – with many members of the public calling for more stringent collection of taxes rather than clampdowns on benefits – an issue that has become a key battlegrounds in British politics at the moment.
Although it is mainly involved in taxation, HMRC is also classed as a law enforcement agency, employing Criminal Investigators in order to be able to implement their work on tax evasion and fraud, as well the smuggling of tobacco and alcohol into the country – previously the work of Customs and Excise.