HMRC’s crackdown on tax avoidance
The Treasury has collected a record breaking £23.9 billion in additional tax as a result of various measures to tackle tax avoidance and close the tax gap. HMRC said that more than £8 billion came from large businesses, £1 billion from criminals and £2.7 billion from tackling avoidance schemes in court. The total collected in the last year was nearly £1billion above the target set at Autumn Statement 2013.
The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said:
The government supports the hardworking, honest majority of taxpayers that play by the rules, and is determined to tackle the minority that seek to avoid paying the taxes they owe.
We set HMRC ambitious targets to increase its yield and the figures published today demonstrate that HMRC is successfully meeting these challenges.
The coalition government had made tackling tax avoidance, evasion and fraud one of the keystones of their financial policy and since 2010 have closed a number of tax loopholes, introduced the General Anti-Abuse Rule, and invested nearly £1 billion in HMRC’s compliance activities.
Since April 2010, HMRC has prosecuted 2,650 individuals for tax crimes and secured a collective total of 2,700 years of custodial sentences. HMRC will continue with the use of taskforces to target high-risk businesses and sectors as well as running campaigns aimed at specific trades and professions.
There are of course many legitimate ways to save tax. It should be remembered that tax avoidance that is not caught by specific legislation is not in and of itself illegal although the Prime Minister has given his opinion that it is morally wrong.