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Vat hike has cost pensioner couples £825, say Labour

For pensioner couples the increase caused by VAT going up to 20% is £825 while single parent families have paid an extra £625, according to Labour.

David Cameron claims he is helping ordinary families, but his figures always omit the big rise in VAT three years ago. He gives with one hand, but takes away much more with the other.

The truth is that the only people who have got big a tax cut under this Government are those earning over £150,000.

And while everyone else faces a cost-of-living crisis, David Cameron wants to give the richest 1% another big tax cut. He's totally out of touch.

– Shadow treasury minister Shabana Mahmood

Coalition vat hike has 'cost families £1,300' Labour claim

The coalition's VAT hike has cost the average family more than £1,300 over the past three years, Labour has claimed. Chancellor George Osborne used his first Budget in June 2010 to announce that he was raising the rate of VAT from 17.5% to 20% from January 2011.

VAT increased from 17.5% to 20% from January 2011. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Labour said that Treasury figures show that couples with children have now paid out on average £1,350 more as a result of the change.

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'More stable tax base' created by national insurance

Higher national insurance revenue and a move away from profit-based corporation tax have created "a more stable tax base", according to a leading accountancy firm.

Kevin Nicholson, head of tax at PwC, explained:

This creates a more stable tax base. Measures like the lowering of the corporation tax rate and additional incentives for innovation are about attracting more investment to the UK, and we are seeing signs that this is paying off.

– Kevin Nickholson

Businesses paid more in tax for 'first time since 2007'

The 100 Group - a list of Britain's 100 biggest businesses - paid more in tax last year for the first time since the credit crunch began, a leading accountancy firm has revealed.

Britain's biggest businesses now pay more in national insurance than they do in corporation tax, PwC said. Credit: PA

PwC said the total tax contribution came to £77.6 billion in the tax year ending last March - a rise from £77.1 billion the year before.

However, revenue from corporation tax slumped by 25%, with £6 billion, down from the previous year's £8 billion, going to the Treasury.

Corporation tax has now been overtaken by national insurance contributions as the biggest tax expense recorded by firms, at 27.5%, as firms employed 1.3% more staff and increased wages.

IoD: Labour 'must not revert to old socialist ways'

The Institute of Directors (IoD) said Labour must "drop its practice of knee-jerk reversion to the old socialist nostrums" if the party wants to be taken seriously by business.

Director general Simon Walker said: "The 50p tax rate - actually 52p, because the last Labour government manipulated national insurance contributions - greatly damaged Britain's claim to being seen as a low-tax economy and actually drove down total tax receipts.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said Labour would restore the 50p tax rate for higher earners. Credit: Tim Goode/EMPICS Entertainment

"It was, and remains, an envy-driven political gesture designed solely to drive a wedge between voters."

He added, "It will significantly damage Labour's credibility with the business community."

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1,566 filed their tax returns online on Christmas Day

There was a 1% rise in people submitting their tax returns online on Christmas Day compared to the same time last year Credit: HMRC

1,566 people spent part of Christmas Day submitting their tax returns online, HM Revenue and Customs has said.

It is a 1% rise on the numbers on the same day last year.

The peak time on Christmas Day was from midday to 1pm.

17,000 people managed to find time on Christmas Eve - a 19% increase on 2012.

But there was a 4% decline on Boxing Day, with 4,493 preferring to sort their finances out than spend more money at the sales.

Tax authority 'seeks to collect all that is due'

HM Revenue and Customs has defended its recorded in the wake of a parliamentary report that has accused it of holding back on using sanctions against multinational companies, while pursuing small businesses and individuals.

HMRC seeks to collect the tax that is due from all taxpayers, so that everyone pays their fair share in accordance with the tax laws passed by Parliament.

We have secured more than £50 billion of additional tax from our compliance work since 2010, including £23 billion from large businesses.

We have carried out 2,345 prosecutions for tax evasion in the last three years, including of high-profile accountants and lawyers, have halved the number of disclosed tax avoidance schemes and have protected more than £2.4 billion from marketed tax avoidance schemes this year alone.

– HMRC spokesman

Tax authority 'fails to collect £35bn' from big businesses

The "tax gap" between the amount owed to the Exchequer and the amount actually collected grew by £1 billion to £35 billion in 2011/12, according to a new parliamentary report that accuses HM Revenue and Customs of being soft on big multinational firms.

HMRC holds back from using the full range of sanctions at its disposal. It pursues tax owed by the smaller businesses but seems to lose its nerve when it comes to mounting prosecutions against multinational corporations.

It predicted that it would collect £3.12 billion unpaid tax from UK holders of Swiss bank accounts... but in 2013-14 it has so far secured just £440 million.

We were astonished that HMRC could not give any reasons for such a shortfall.

– Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee
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