Revenue clawed back from tax probes surges to a fresh high

HER MAJESTY’S Revenue and Customs (HMRC) raked in £20.7bn from its investigative work on tax avoidance and evasion this year, the highest amount ever collected.

During 2012-13, the tax authorities beat its own target for revenue acquired through investigations by £2bn, topping 2011-12’s £18.6bn by a similar amount, according to new research by UHY Hacker Young.

The amount of additional tax revenues from investigative channels has more than doubled in the past six years: during the 2006-07 tax year, only £8.8bn was raised from similar sources.

However, Roy Maugham of UHY Hacker Young expressed concern that HMRC’s zeal for investigations might be problematic: “Not all of the extra tax take is from clear cut tax evasion – it is often from HMRC imposing its view of how the tax system works on small and medium-sized enterprises and individual tax payers through the use of an army of tax inspectors and lawyers.”

He added: “Having a tax authority that is seen as overly aggressive can make it harder for a country to attract inward investment.”