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HMRC's Explains Relationship With High Net Worths

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

28 October 2014


HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has issued a new guide on how it deals with wealthy individuals and its efforts to ensure their compliance with tax rules.

The UK's revenue agency classes "wealthy individuals" as those with a net worth of GBP20m (USD32.2m) or more. Approximately 6,200 individuals fall into this category. Collectively, this group pays between GBP3bn and GBP4bn a year in personal income and capital gains tax.

As the briefing explains, a High Net Worth Unit (HNWU) was set up in 2009. HMRC assigns each individual a specific customer relationship manager (CRM) who has detailed oversight of their tax affairs and deals with their tax agents. A CRM is also charged with developing an in-depth understanding of whether the taxpayer poses a non-payment risk.

Where complex issues require a more thorough analysis of relevant tax law, CRMs are supported by teams of specialist technical advisers. Different teams focus on individuals connected to the finance sector, those who have rapidly increasing wealth, and international investors. An Analysis and Intelligence Unit works to ensure that HMRC understands the behaviour and financial structures of wealthy individuals, while a Dispute Resolution team deals with disputes between HMRC and wealthy individuals, in line with the Department's litigation and settlements strategy.

The guide adds that HMRC has begun issuing "follower notices" and "accelerated payment" notices to those involved in tax avoidance schemes. These notices demand the upfront payment of the disputed tax. It has taken disputes to tax tribunals when it has been unable to agree the amount of tax to be paid in line with its litigation and settlements strategy.

According to HMRC figures, its HNWU has brought in more than GBP1bn in additional revenue since it was formed in 2009. It is also outstripping targets; in 2013-2014, the Unit brought in GBP268m against a target of GBP20m. The number of outstanding tax returns has reduced from 11.9 percent in 2009 to 3.4 percent in 2014. 96.4 percent of wealthy individuals now file online, an increase of ten percent in four years.

TAGS: individuals | compliance | Wealth | tax | tax avoidance | revenue guidance | law | United Kingdom | tax authority | tax planning | HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) | revenue statistics | HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) | Tax | Tax Evasion

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