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UK Anti-Avoidance Work Yields Record Results

by Robert Lee,, London

30 May 2014

The UK Government has said that its efforts to improve tax compliance are working, after figures revealed that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) brought in a record GBP23.9bn (USD40.2bn) in additional tax revenue over the last year.

The additional tax was secured as a result of HMRC investigations and comes on top of the tax collected from those who settle their affairs on time. The 2013-14 figure is up GBP3.2bn on that recorded the previous year and up GBP9bn on 2010-11. It is also nearly GBP1bn above the target set by the Autumn Statement 2013.

More than GBP8bn was collected from large businesses and over GBP1bn from criminals. GBP2.7bn was secured via court action against tax avoidance schemes.

Commenting on the figures, Exchequer Secretary David Gauke said: "The Government supports the hardworking, honest majority of taxpayers that play by the rules, and is determined to tackle the minority that seeks to avoid paying the taxes they owe. We set HMRC ambitious targets to increase its yield and the figures published today demonstrate that HMRC is successfully meeting these challenges. It also sends a clear signal – HMRC will pursue those seeking to avoid their responsibilities and will collect the taxes that are due."

HMRC has also published a new guide, HMRC fast facts: Record compliance revenues for the UK, which provides an overview of its compliance activities. In addition, it details plans to tackle high-risk promoters and offshore avoidance and to demand accelerated payments from users of avoidance schemes.

HMRC fast facts points out that GBP77m has been invested in the Department since 2010 to help it deal with offshore evasion. 56,000 individuals have come forward through its disclosure facilities, disclosing more than GBP1.3bn in tax liabilities. The biggest single payment, at GBP11m, was made through the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility.

HMRC prosecuted 2,650 individuals for tax crimes between April 2010 and March 2014. It obtained a collective total of 2,700 years of custodial sentences.

Its campaigns have targeted the members of specific trades and professions, via letters, advertising and social media, to encourage them to settle their taxes voluntarily. GBP267m has been raised since the first campaign was launched in January 2010. Specialist taskforces have worked with over 45 businesses to bring in more than GBP10.5bn.

Since March 2010, the Government has introduced 42 changes to tax law, to close loopholes and prevent and deter tax avoidance. It has reduced by more than 75 percent the number of new marketed tax avoidance schemes registered under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) system. In 2009-10 there were 116 registered schemes; in 2013-14 there were 28. The new General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) is expected to protect GBP235m in revenues between 2014-15 and 2017-18.

TAGS: individuals | court | compliance | tax | business | tax compliance | tax avoidance | law | Liechtenstein | United Kingdom | tax authority | offshore | tax planning | HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) | revenue statistics | HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) | trade | Tax | Tax Evasion

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