Strengthening the quality of HMRC’s official statistics

Introduction to the review

In September 2019, HMRC invited the Office for Statistics Regulation to carry out a review of the principles and processes underpinning the quality of HMRC’s official statistics. This review was proactively initiated after HMRC identified a significant error in published Corporation Tax receipt statistics, which affected the period from April 2011 to July 2019.

Aim and scope of the review

The aim of our review was to provide an independent assessment of the approach that HMRC takes to manage quality and risk in the production of its official statistics and to identify potential improvements. We appreciate that producers of statistics will never eliminate errors entirely: the recommendations we present in this report focus on improvements that HMRC should make to help minimise the risk of issues with its statistics in the future.

Related links:

Ed Humpherson to Ruth Stanier: Strengthening the quality of HMRC’s official statistics

Ed Humpherson to Jim Harra: Strengthening the quality of HMRC’s official statistics

Ed Humpherson to Sean Whellams: Review of HMRC statistical quality management

Jim Harra to Ed Humpherson

Ruth Stanier to Ed Humpherson 

Statistics on Income Tax

This is one of a series of reports prepared under the provisions of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. The Act requires all statistics currently designated as National Statistics to be assessed against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

The report covers the sets of statistics reported in the following publications, produced by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC):

  • Income Tax Liabilities Statistics;
  • Expenses and Benefit Statistics (ITLS); and
  • Income Tax Receipts Statistics (EBS).

This report is shorter than normal. In particular, section 3 adopts an ‘exception reporting’ approach – it includes text only to support the Requirements made to strengthen compliance with the Code and Suggestions made to improve confidence in the production, management and dissemination of these statistics. This abbreviated style of report reflects the Head of Assessment’s consideration of aspects of risk and materiality. The Assessment team nonetheless assessed compliance with all parts of the Code of Practice and has commented on all those in respect of which some remedial action is recommended.

This report was prepared by the Authority’s Assessment team, and approved by the Board of the Statistics Authority on the advice of the Head of Assessment.

Related links

Statistics on Income Tax: Letter of Confirmation as National Statistics