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Channel 4 commissions HMRC documentary

14th Mar 2014
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Channel 4 has commissioned a three-episode fly-on-the-wall documentary series about HMRC, set to be aired in 2015.

The documentary will feature three 60-minute episodes and will follow Revenue inspectors and investigators on the frontline as they try to collect tax and catch evaders. 

Tiger Aspect Productions, the team behind the documentary, said it spent a year securing "unique and unprecedented" access to HMRC. 

The series promises to show tax inspectors targeting "high-risk" sectors, including plumbers, doctors, offshore bank accounts and high net worth individuals. 

In addition, viewers will also be shown what the Revenue does to help the people and businesses that do pay their taxes. 

An HMRC spokesperson confirmed that it is working on the series, due to be aired "next year". 

“Last year HMRC collected over £460bn, received over 60 million phone calls, supported those who want to play by the rules and pursued the minority who don't," said the spokesman.

"This is only possible because of our dedicated workforce who serve virtually every person in the country. We think it’s time a TV audience has the opportunity to meet some of these people and get a sense of what goes on behind the scenes in running the UK tax system." 

The reasoning behind the documentary, according to the Channel 4 website is HMRC's £1bn in extra funding allocated by the government in their "war on tax dodgers." 

Head of documentaries at the channel, Nick Mirsky, said that the Revenue has been depicted as suspicious and mistrustful - but that this documentary will show that there's more to the job than public perception.

Series producer Lawrence Walford added: “We all have a mental picture of the taxman as someone who takes away our hard earned cash. But during the last year, I've realised there is much more to this job than meets the eye.

"There are some fascinating stories and unexpected characters which will make for a compelling documentary series."


Replies (16)

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By AndyC555
14th Mar 2014 14:05


To be truly realistic, the camera crew would have to be kept waiting when they arrived, then shunted round a few officers who passed them on to someone else before eventually being told by someone called "Brian" that there was nothing that could be done but that they'd pass a message on to the appropriate person.


No, I'm joking of course.  I used to work at HMIT (as it was then) and I remember being asked "how many people work in your office?" to which I replied "about half of them".

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Stephen Quay
By squay
14th Mar 2014 15:21

ID checks

I wonder if the camera crew were asked to prove their identities when they arrived. I can see it now. "But you called us". "But we have to check who you are". "You know who we are, we the camera crew". "Are that's what you say; you could be imposters"! 

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By stepurhan
14th Mar 2014 16:09

Purpose of visit

HMRC reception : Please state the purpose of your visit

Film Crew : Documentary

HMRC reception : I heard "VAT registration" is that correct?

Film Crew : No, Documentary

HMRC reception : I heard "Getting Forms in Welsh" is that correct?

Film Crew : No. Can we just speak to someone?

HMRC reception : All of that information is available on our website.

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Replying to itp3e:
Locutus of Borg
By Locutus
15th Mar 2014 15:09

Well done, that really made me chuckle

stepurhan wrote:

HMRC reception : Please state the purpose of your visit

Film Crew : Documentary

HMRC reception : I heard "VAT registration" is that correct?

Film Crew : No, Documentary

HMRC reception : I heard "Getting Forms in Welsh" is that correct?

Film Crew : No. Can we just speak to someone?

HMRC reception : All of that information is available on our website.

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By ArsalanShah
15th Mar 2014 15:20


script written by Stepurhan for HMRC Documentary.You might get a knock on your door to find out 'Congratulations you have been selected' !!

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By the_Poacher
15th Mar 2014 16:16

How bad?
We all hear the horror stories about how bad things are now in HMRC. Fast chance that we will see it in a documentary - Lin Homer will ensure it is a whitewash

Thanks (4)
Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
16th Mar 2014 12:53

I happen to know that magicians have been targeted
By the divumentary makers as some of the "unexpected characters"

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By vdeepan3
17th Mar 2014 13:50

Does HMRC Really help the people who pay taxes?

I doubt it.. recently HMRC is not very flexible and threatening to wind up the companies if there's late payment. It is understandable , but HMRC should be flexible with the small business who fight for survival and try their best to pay the taxes. 

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By carroccio1958
17th Mar 2014 15:54

Er hello ......
" Last year HMRC collected over 460 BILLION ..."

As the uk gdp is circa 1400 billion that is about right . But tbe way it is phrased suggests that all this came solely from tax avoidance /evasion crackdowns ..... if that were the case George Osborne woukd no longer have a deficit priblem to report on Wednesday.

Jaundiced /slanted reporting leading to wrong conclusions manipulated to gild the lily .

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By chatman
17th Mar 2014 18:27

Disgusting HMRC PR disguised as a documentary. Will they show the crack down on non-wealthy tax payers? Will they talk about the sweetheart deals such as with Vodafone? I doubt it.

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By stepurhan
18th Mar 2014 08:49

View first, then judge

Whilst it may actually be that the documentary will come out as HMRC PR, I prefer to view it before making judgement. It has really bugged me in the past when MPs have stood up to denounce TV programs, only to later admit they haven't actually seen them. It's like describing Ulysses by James Joyce as pretentious and unintelligible without having read it. (I have read it. It is pretentious and unintelligible. However, the impression that I took away from it was of a highly intelligent man that just didn't know when to stop showing off about how intelligent he was).

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By kenfrost
18th Mar 2014 08:52

Be Careful What You Wish For

I refer to what I said in February :

"Documentary makers (especially "reality" TV shows) are very skilled at making fools of those who appear in them eg; The Hotel Inspector, The Call Centre, Come Dine With Me, Permission Impossible etc."

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By justsotax
18th Mar 2014 09:35

wonder how long

they will have to stake out the hmrc officers to get 180 mins of 'action' footage... 

Thanks (1)
By johnjenkins
18th Mar 2014 12:08

I wonder if

a Ltd Company gets a knock on the door asking for the £25k outstanding corporation tax and the director says sorry mate ain't got no dough cos you lot owe me £50k in CIS tax over the last 4 years.

I notice only 3 episodes. I reckon it's already been filmed and HMRC are seeing what comments they get so that editing can be done accordingly.

Will we see the prat who issues wrong notices of coding, of course not.

Will we see the idiots at Long Benton who refuse to send out CIS printouts, of course not.

All we will see is pictures of a comedian and radio presenter saying what silly billys they have been. We might even see bits of fraud court cases.

Give me border control any day.

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By LizzieAckerman
18th Mar 2014 14:54

Taxpayers Stories

In response to your interest, we are looking to hear from taxpayers for our series, please find more information below:



Tax Trouble? 


Award-winning programme-maker, Tiger Aspect, is producing an observational documentary series on tax for Channel 4 and we would like to speak to anyone with an ongoing tax problem. 


Filmed over the course of 2014 the series of three programmes will follow tax payers as they deal with a broad range of tax issues.  Whether you’re a plumber struggling to pay income tax, a small-business owner trying to keep the tax wolf from the door, an IT contractor who’s taken part in avoidance scheme,  or maybe you’ve been hit by a working tax credit overpayment claim we want to hear your story.


The series will also film with HMRC to see how they are trying to close the tax gap and what their greater targets mean for tax payers. 


Please contact Ruth Newton on  [email protected] or 0208 222 4891 for more information.


All information is off the record at this stage and doesn’t oblige you to take part in the series.

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
By Trevor Scott
19th Mar 2014 09:47

"...avoidance scheme"

There's an episode in itself. Government corruption of going after people who act within the law by using an established legal mechanism.

And then there is.....Money Laundering Regulations; the failure of HMRC/SOCA to act upon reports giving them the exact information needed to raise legitimate tax assessments or put criminals in jail.

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