The Autumn Statement revealed that the government will spend an additional £79m to fight tax fraud in the next five years, as HMRC is promised greater resources to tackle the tax gap.
This marks a 27 per cent increase on the £292m investment announced at last year’s Budget. Through the extra £79m, HMRC expects to raise an additional £725m in tax receipts across five years.
Referred to as “Additional Compliance Resource for HMRC” in the Autumn Statement 2022, the funds will “enable HMRC to allocate additional staff to tackle more cases of serious tax fraud and address tax compliance risks among wealthy taxpayers”.
“The government remains committed to ensuring HMRC has sufficient funding to enable it to maintain its compliance performance over time, while continuing to make efficiencies, both in this and future Spending Review periods,” according to the policy document.
Discussing the additional investment with City A.M. this morning, Qdos CEO Seb Maley said:“This is a signal of intent from the government. Upping the investment by nearly a third in just a year and by £371m in only two years shows just how serious HMRC is about cracking down on tax fraud.
“This was tucked away in the Autumn Statement, with tax hikes and freezes making the headlines. That’s not to say it’s any less important, though. This Chancellor has set out his stall early on.
“But targeting high net worth individuals isn’t a new approach. HMRC has ramped up its compliance activity in recent years, pursuing a number of high profile cases,” Maley pointed out.
For instance, Gary Lineker is fighting a £4.9m tax bill, which HMRC believes is owed due to breaching the IR35 rules.
Lineker’s just one of many who have been targeted by HMRC under the IR35 legislation.
“Whether it’s IR35 investigations or other tax related enquiries, the key takeaway is that HMRC will be doing more to fight tax fraud among individuals, but also businesses – it’s a development that outlines the importance of ensuring tax compliance and proactively protecting yourself from the risks,” Maley concluded.
HMRC has been approached for a comment.