Sending a strong signal to UK tax evaders, HMRC’s top team of specialist investigators have recovered a massive £3.65bn in unpaid taxes from big-ticket tax avoidance schemes, evasion and fraud.
Law firm Pinsent Masons, who carried out the research, said the compliance yield recovered by HMRC’s team is 20% higher than the sum recovered in 2012/13 (£2.97bn) and for the first time in HMRC history amounts to more than 10% of the estimated tax gap of £34 billion.
Paul Noble, Tax director at Pinsent Masons, said, “These figures should be a massive jolt to anyone with undisclosed or outstanding tax liabilities that have given them significant savings. HMRC has been recruiting and training heavily in order to increase the activity of its specialist investigations team.”
“HMRC is not only better equipped than ever before to chase down those it suspects of unfairly avoiding their fair share of tax, it’s also far more uncompromising in how it conducts its investigations and far more hard-nosed when it comes to settling cases.”
HMRC’s Specialist Investigations (SI) is an elite group of specialist investigators within HMRC who are often be brought in to investigate highly-sensitive cases of tax fraud, tax evasion and also cases of tax ‘avoidance’. The elite unit generally leads investigations into large corporations, high-net individuals or cases where in its view records are falsified or complex accountancy skills have been used to carry the fraud out.
The SI unit deals with identified cases of suspected fraud under civil procedures, instead of criminal, so that suspects agree to voluntary disclose facts and cooperate with them. Nevertheless, a letter from SI is never good news as dealing with them requires specialist professional advice and careful handling.