Tax Avoidance Crackdown Raises £30 Billion

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The UK tax man has raised almost an extra £30 billion in the past year from cracking down on avoidance.

The boost came in a year that saw HM Revenue & Customs collect a record £574.9 billion in taxes from individuals and businesses.

The tax take was £38.1 billion up on the previous year.

The compliance crackdown on avoidance involved task forces focusing on organised crime and tax evasion as well as avoidance schemes.

Over the past six years, 500 crooks involved in serious organised crime have faced the courts.

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Organised crime

Another 1,200 contested tax cases went before courts and tax tribunals to claw back £15 billion in tax.

In court, HMRC has an 83% success rate.

“HMRC’s focus on making sure the minority of people who try to get away with paying less than their fair and legal share has meant record additional revenues from avoidance, evasion and organised crime,” said HMRC executive chair and permanent secretary Edward Troup.

“Continued progress on developing increasingly sophisticated and world-leading techniques will further close this net, making it harder than ever to get away with tax dodging.

““Our ability to collect the money required to fund the UK’s public services is, of course, the ultimate yardstick by which we will be measured.”

HMRC generated £4 billion from alleged tax avoidance schemes under the ‘accelerated payment notice‘ scheme.

80,000 taxpayers under investigation

APNs allow HMRC to collect tax due in advance from taxpayers involved in suspected avoidance.

Since 2014, when the law changed to allow advanced payments, 75,000 notices have been served with an average tax return of £38,500 a day.

Taxpayers receiving notices have 90 days to settle their tax or appeal their cases – with HMRC winning 90% of disputes in court.

HMRC says 600 tax avoidance schemes involving 80,000 taxpayers are under investigation.

“APNs have helped level the playing field by changing the economics of avoidance,” said HMRC’s director general for customer compliance David Richardson.

“We are pleased that the High Court has again supported HMRC’s operation of the Accelerated Payments regime. This is our sixth win out of six Judicial Reviews of APNs.”

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