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Today’s Top Headlines

HMRC Unveils Top 2012 Tax Evasion Convictions

by Robert Lee,, London

07 January 2013

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has published information on what it says were the UK's "top tax criminals of 2012," sentenced to a combined total of 155 years and 10 months behind bars.

Images of the convicted were released as part of HMRC’s current Tax Evasion Campaign. The campaign was launched as part of Government’s GBP917m (USD1.5bn) investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011-12. A further GBP77m will be added to this funding over the next two years, and the aim is to raise an additional GBP7bn each year by 2014-15.

The convictions relate to value-added tax (VAT) fraud, the counterfeit tobacco trade, the use of tax avoidance schemes, smuggling and carbon emission fraud, among others.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke used the publication as an opportunity to stress the government's stance on tax evasion.

He said: “The government is committed to closing in on tax evaders. Collectively the 32 criminals have been sentenced to more than 150 years. Most people play by the rules and pay what they owe, but HMRC is cracking down on those who don’t. We hope that publishing these pictures will help get across that it always makes sense to declare all your income, and tax dodgers are simply storing up trouble for the future.”

TAGS: tax | tax avoidance | law | United Kingdom | enforcement

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You are confusing avoidance (as per your headline), which is legal, with evasion, which is illegal. The politicians, in particular, are happy to mix the two up but I am surprised that you mix them up as you provide comment on tax matters.

John on Monday, January 7, 2013