The number of raids carried out on premises has trebled in the last four years, as part of government investigations into tax evasion.
Almost 600 property raids were carried out this year by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), following increased pressure from the government to meet its target of 1,165 tax evasion prosecutions set out for this year.
The number of raids on premises carried out by HMRC in the course of investigations into tax evasion has increased by almost a fifth, rising from 500 in 2013, to 593 last year, according to international law firm Pinsent Masons. In the 2010-11 tax year, just 196 were conducted.
Pinsent Masons say that the number of custodial sentences given out in cases of criminal tax evasion has also risen, with convictions up 30 per cent since 2011. In 2010, the government allocated £900m over four years to address non-compliance in the tax system and added 320 staff to their criminal investigation unit.
Pinsent Masons Paul Noble said: “(HMRC) is pursuing as many cases as possible in an effort to meet targets set by the government. It is targeting a broad range of taxpayers and refusing to let those suspected of minor offences slip through the cracks.”