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A Government that Worked Better and Cost Less?Evaluating Three Decades of Reform and Change in UK Central Government$
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Christopher Hood and Ruth Dixon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687022.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 March 2021

Collecting Taxes

Collecting Taxes

Central and Local Government Taxation Compared

(p.86) 5 Collecting Taxes
A Government that Worked Better and Cost Less?

Christopher Hood

Ruth Dixon

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 examines tax collection costs taxes over thirty years (arguably a policy domain with a strong ‘bottom line’ where one might expect a combination of managerialism and the application of new information technology to have a particularly strong impact). It compares central government tax collection (which emphasized big centralized information technology initiatives) with the more decentralized and less IT-intensive tax collection system in English local government. In both cases tax collection was disrupted over the period by major tax policy changes (particularly Margaret Thatcher’s ill-fated poll tax), central government tax collection costs rose steadily over three decades while local government costs were more stable apart from a spike over the poll tax period, and the two systems do not seem to have differed markedly over cost-to-yield. The more decentralized and low-tech local government system did not perform markedly worse on cost than its IT-intensive central government counterpart.

Keywords:   collection costs, tax, local government, central government, Poll Tax, information technology, managerialism

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