Information needed Response
Title and link to statistical output HMRC tax receipts and National Insurance contributions for the UK
Name of producer organisation Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
Knowledge Analysis & Intelligence
Data Quality, Assurance and Technology
Name and contact details of person
dealing with report
Luke Suckling
03000 567560
Name and contact details of Head of
Profession for Statistics or Lead Official
Sean Whellams
Link to published statement about the
breach (if relevant)
HMRC published an announcement about the issue here:
ONS also published a statement here:
Date of breach report 04/03/2021

Information needed Response
Relevant principle(s) and practice(s) Quality
Q1.2 – constructive relationships with data provider
Q2.4 – relevant limitations explained to users
Q3.1 – quality that meets user need
Q3.2 – quality assurance proportionate
Date of occurrence of breach 21/02/2021 (existence of an error confirmed, still under investigation as per date of breach report)

HMRC tax receipts and National Insurance contributions for the UK is a monthly National Statistics

In response to the Corporation Tax receipts error that occurred in September 2019, and the recommendations from the subsequent Office for Statistics Regulation review ‘Strengthening the quality of HMRC’s official statistics’, Corporate Finance and Knowledge Analysis & Intelligence (KAI) embarked on a detailed data mapping exercise to document and assure the data and calculations underpinning all heads of duty covered in HMRC’s tax receipts statistics. Given the scope and complexity of the data flows, this has been a time-consuming exercise, and it is still underway. The work completed so far suggests that the data and calculations are largely sound. However, we have identified some errors in the admin data for 2018/19, which relates to the treatment of a small number of individual payments and repayments.

This has been identified as a result of the work we are undertaking to improve the quality of our statistics and reflects the importance and seriousness with which we are implementing recommendations which we hope will improve the data supply we provide to the ONS/HM Treasury for publication in the Public Sector Finance (PSF) release.

The root cause of the issue is still being investigated but is currently thought to be caused by data
processing errors. We are currently performing assurance of the proposed revisions and the final impact on the published statistics will be known in due course.

Revisions are expected to KAI’s monthly receipts publication and this may have knock on effects on
associated KAI publications which also report receipts outturn. KAI’s monthly receipts publication outturn is also used to inform the Public Sector Finances Release (PSF).

The PSF reports on receipts and expenditure on an accrued basis to estimate Government borrowing and
Public Sector debt. Revisions to HMRC reported cash position will impact on Public Sector Finances and
reported Government borrowing (PSF published jointly by HM Treasury and the Office for National
Statistics). Both HMRC and ONS have published statements informing users of the issue (links to the
statements can be found in section 1).

We are currently exploring further with Corporate Finance to understand any potential implications for historic years beyond 2018/19. While investigations are still ongoing, we expect the overall scale of the revisions to reflect a small proportional amount of annual receipts reported. The impact is estimated to be around 0.1% of total receipts in the tax year 2018 to 2019.

In terms of short-term action, we are currently working closely with Corporate Finance to understand:

• The root cause of these errors.
• The impact of these potential changes on historic years’ net cash receipts.

The need for the revision has been identified as a result of the work HMRC is undertaking to implement the recommendations of the OSR review, so, in the longer-term, Corporate Finance and KAI will continue the ongoing work to strengthen the receipts process and address the actions identified in the OSR review. This includes, End-to-End process mapping between Corporate Finance and KAI to better understand data sources and the flow of data across the department to inform published receipts. Further discussions between Corporate Finance and KAI will also consider current quality assurance checks, additional controls and sign-off of data shared between these directorates to reduce the risk of historic year revisions moving forwards.