HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) rakes in £3bn by getting people to cough up early in investigations

Hayley Kirton
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The measures are designed to remove the incentive of taking part in tax avoidance schemes (Source: Getty)

The taxman has bagged itself billions under recently introduced rules which allow it to force those currently under investigation to hand over the disputed tax in advance, it has been revealed today.

Since the Accelerated Payment Notices (APN) rules were introduced in 2014, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has issued 60,000 such notices to bring in £3bn earlier than could have otherwise been hoped.

One of the aims of APNs is to remove incentives to engage in tax avoidance schemes by clamping down on how long people can hope to hold on to their money for.

Last month, the Treasury proposed plans which would penalise advisers who helped their clients to sidestep tax. Experts hit back, telling City A.M. the move, if not carefully planned out, could punish professionals for simply trying to do what was best for their clients.

Read more: Taxman sets up last chance saloon for those with hidden wealth offshore

"The vast majority of avoidance schemes just don't work," said financial secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison, today. "We're determined to change the economics of tax avoidance by making it harder for the dishonest minority to cheat the system – collecting disputed tax upfront and tough new sanctions for enablers of tax avoidance will mean people will think twice."

Jennie Granger, director general for enforcement and compliance at HMRC, added: "We want to encourage as many avoidance users as possible to come forward and settle their schemes with us."

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