HMRC prosecutes 1,135 tax offenders

HM Revenue & Customs issued 1,135 prosecutions for tax offences last year, according to research by Thomson Reuters.

With an increased focus on investigating the “bigger ticket” tax evasions amongst businesses, rather than wealthy individuals, the Revenue exceeded its target of 1,000 prosecutions in 2015/16.

Tax evasion has been high on the government’s priority list in recent years. In the 2015 summer Budget, HMRC was granted an extra £800m to invest in compliance and tax evasion and, last year, the Revenue has set up a multi-agency task force to investigate and identify any financial wrongdoing by UK taxpayers.

“HMRC has considerable support in its investigations into the tax affairs of those it suspects of criminal activity,” Morag Rea, Head of Thomson Reuters Business Crime and Investigations says. “These are increasingly companies, rather than just individuals.”

In 2015/16 the result was still lower than in 2014/15, where 1,258 individuals were prosecuted.

“While the target for 2016/17 remains at 1,000 referrals for prosecution, investigations may be focused on corporate criminality,” Ms Rea says. “[This is] due to the failure to prevent facilitation offences in the Criminal Finances Act 2017* [which came] into force on 30 September.”

Beavis Morgan – The tax experts

Whether you are in business as an individual or as a corporate, you will want to ensure that you pay no more tax than you are legally bound to do.

Our experts at Beavis Morgan can ensure your tax affairs are as efficient as possible to fit your circumstances. In addition, we can look ahead to retirement and inheritance tax planning.

In addition, if you are concerned about a tax enquiry into your affairs, worried that you may have possibly under declared or, worse still, you are already under enquiry, our tax specialists, some of whom are former HMRC Inspector of Taxes, are well versed in dealing with all types of tax issues.

We are also readily available to oversee HMRC disputes on your behalf, as well as to represent clients in appeal proceedings before the Tax Tribunal. In some situations, we can also offer professional fee protection insurance, so the costs are covered in whole or in part.

For more information and to discuss your tax affairs in further detail, contact Alan Ford or your usual Beavis Morgan Partner.

* Criminal Finances Act 2017: Read our briefing note to assist when putting systems and prevention procedures in place to mitigate business risk arising from the new offense.

Further reading: Big Brother is watching – 10 ways HMRC can detect tax dodges