Wealth unit raises £137m
HMRC’s Affluent Unit was set up in October 2011 to examine the tax affairs of taxpayers who had wealth of at least £2.5 million and an annual income of £150,000 or more. In 2013, the Affluent Unit doubled in size and grew to look at taxpayers whose wealth was over £1 million. The Affluent Unit is thought to look at the tax affairs of some 500,000 taxpayers.
The Unit is separate to the High Net Worth Unit (HNWU) which targets taxpayers with wealth in excess of £20 million. However, both initiatives are designed to target the wealthiest taxpayers in the country.
A recent information request by the international law firm, Pinsent Masons revealed that the Affluent Unit collected £137.2 million in additional tax from investigations in 2013/14, up from £85.7 million in 2012/13. This represents an increase of some 60%. HMRC is also making extensive use of the database system ‘Connect’ that gathers real time data to help it identify tax avoidance. The system draws data from multiple public and private sources and is able to help identify taxpayers that seem to be living beyond their means.