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What Is the Inland Revenue?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
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Inland revenue is a term used to refer to a government agency responsible for direct taxation of citizens and residents of a given nation. It may also be known as internal revenue. The most famous example of inland revenue probably comes from Britain, although as of 2005, “inland revenue” does not exist as a government agency as a result of a merger to create Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Some other Anglophone nations, such as New Zealand, retain this term to refer to their internal tax collection agencies.

The duties of inland revenue representatives include collecting personal and business income taxes, assessing capital gains taxes, and administering tax credits offered to various citizens. The organization varies by nation and can include a number of different departments. Personnel employed by inland revenue can offer assistance to citizens who have trouble understanding and filing their taxes, in addition to conducting investigations of suspected tax fraud and other questionable activities. These government agencies are responsible for making sure that all funds the government is entitled to end up in the treasury.

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Every nation structures its tax system slightly differently. Some countries subject people to a myriad of direct taxes, all administered by inland revenue, while others have relatively simple systems of taxation, especially for the majority of citizens. In addition to enforcing the tax code, inland revenue representatives are also involved in developing policy recommendations for the government. This can include everything from suggestions for tax credits to new penalties for tax fraud.

In regions where the term “inland revenue” is no longer used, it is still sometimes possible to see citizens referring to tax agencies this way, reflecting the original name of those agencies. This is common among older adults who may remember the tax agency's prior name. Another common place to encounter outdated names for government agencies is in books, where people writing in previous eras used the terms they were familiar with at the time.

Taxation is an ancient practice and many citizens around the world fear tax authorities even if they file their taxes as accurately and completely as they can. Tax agents have a variety of powers, depending on the country, and often can be more aggressive than other kinds of creditors, as they represent the government rather than private companies. People who commit tax fraud can be subject to penalties like fines, jail time, and property seizures.

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