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On Wednesday 7 February 2018, HMRC gathered a select group of tax investigation practitioners at 100 Parliament Street to provide an update on HMRC’s efforts to target the tax gap and increase HMRC investigation figures over the coming 12 months.

Some of the interesting facts coming out of that meeting include:

  • The tax gap is estimated to be £34bn
  • In 2016/17 HMRC collected £574.9bn of tax revenues including a record £28.9bn from compliance work against individuals and businesses who attempted to break the tax rules
  • During 2016/17 1,100 people were investigated by HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service for suspected tax fraud
  • The Fraud Investigation Service has an Offshore, Corporate and Wealthy Unit that deal with the most serious and complex cases of tax evasion and avoidance
  • The 2017 Budget provided for the recruitment of a further 500 Fraud Investigation Service staff
  • The recruitment of the additional staff will support a drive for a 300% increase in the number of investigations into serious tax fraud
  • HMRC has plans to increase criminal investigations focussing specifically on wealthy individuals and corporates to 100 annually
  • HMRC has 60 cases currently facing either civil or criminal sanctions as a result of information from the Panama Papers
  • HMRC reported that there has been a large increase in the volume of automatic exchange information as a result of the Common Reporting Standard and similar initiatives.

Dmitri Surendran, Tax Director comments, “The session was quite interactive and allowed for a variety of questions to be put to Department Directors and Policy teams from within HMRC. It is clear that with financial support from the Treasury in the last budget, HMRC’s investigations hierarchy have stretching goals and targets that they need to reach. What was slightly different at this meeting from previous such briefings was the level of collegiate intentions within the various teams having to work together for a common aim. It felt like HMRC’s senior team realise that this is a watershed moment for them, if they fail to deliver returns on the level of financial support provided, then it will be difficult to secure that support in future budgets.’’

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Dmitri Surendran – Tax Director or any member of the Edwin Coe Tax team.

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