Synopsis: A record £26.6 billion secured by HMRC in revenue from its tax avoidance and evasion clampdown in 2014/15.
Date posted: Monday, July 20, 2015
HMRC’s annual accounts for 2014/15 show that £26.6 billion was secured in revenue from tax avoidance and tax evasion. This is nearly £3 billion more than in 2012/13 when it got back around £24 billion.
HMRC said that amongst the most significant tools that it has to tackle avoidance by individuals and companies is through the use of the ‘Accelerated Payments’ legislation introduced by Finance Act 2014 and the ability to issue ‘Follower Notices.’
HMRC generated £768 million through accelerated payment notices over the period after it issued around 10,000 of the notices to investors of disputed tax avoidance schemes. It expects to issue another 64,000 notices on individuals and businesses in schemes that are currently under dispute with the authority. Essentially under this legislation anyone who has entered into a tax avoidance scheme and is under investigation is required to pay the disputed tax upfront within 90 days.
In addition, in 2014/15 HMRC issued 379 ‘follower notices’ collecting £170m as a result. ‘Follower notices’ are aimed at marketed avoidance schemes, where HMRC has succeeded in the courts against one scheme user. Therefore, on issue of a ‘follower notice’ a tax avoider is urged to pay the disputed tax they owe. Someone who receives a ‘follower notice’ and does not settle their dispute may be liable to a penalty of up to 50% of the tax and/or National Insurance Contributions in dispute.
Over recent years, the government has been extremely committed to clamping down in this area and as a result has introduced measures or tightened up existing measures to reduce evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. And, it seems, this area of focus continues…
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