In the 2010 budget the Chancellor forecast Income tax receipts of £158.4 bn from PAYE and £35.1bn from self assessment for 2014-15. In March 2014 these forecasts had fallen to £142.2bn and £27.2bn. This decline of £18.4 bn reflects the decision to raise Income Tax thresholds more, cutting Income tax receipts from lower earners. It also reflects the higher top rate of tax which has collected less revenue than expected, and less than a lower rate would have collected.
In 2010 the government forecast £1.6bn of Petroleum Revenue Tax for 2014-15, recognising the likely fall in oil tax revenues.Today we must be looking at a figure of practically nothing, given the decline in output and in the oil price.
In 2010 the forecast was for £33.4bn of fuel duties. They are now forecast at £26.8bn following successful campaigns to cut the rates.
Value added tax was put up, and this has both increased the revenues and resulted in outperformance of the forecast for money raised. National Insurance is £10 bn down on the 2010 estimate for 2014-15, despite the increase in employment. Offshore (oil based) corporation tax is down by a massive £6bn, and total Corporation Tax is down by £18bn overall, in part owing to the cuts in rates.Capital Gains Tax remains way below the £7.8bn it reached at the 18% rate in 2008-9, owing to the large increase in the rate.
When some of the main taxes in the country yield in excess of £50bn less than forecast it is time to ask some questions about tax policy.
In a minority of cases – CGT and the top rate of Income tax – the rates are too high. Cutting the rates would increase revenues by increasing the number of rich people based here, and changing their behaviour to undertake more transactions and to receive more dividends and other remuneration.
In other cases like tax thresholds and fuel duty the revenue is lower thanks to tax cuts. Personally I support those cuts, but they do mean you have to spend less as a result, or find something else to tax.
The interesting question is Corporation Tax. The idea of lower rates should be attractive to companies looking for a place to invest. However, the rate cutting has clearly taken the rate below the optimum rate for maximising revenue. There is a feeling in the country that large multinationals should make a proper contribution to the UK as host country for part of their operations. The interesting question is how could this be done without deterring investment or driving them out of the country.