Tax evasion arrests drop 11 per cent

The number of arrests made in the UK for suspected tax evasion is at its lowest level in five years.

The findings, published by law firm RPC, show that 782 arrests were made in 2018, a drop of 11 per cent from the 877 made in 2017/18. This, the firm argues, is partly due to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) being hit with a number of wrongful arrest claims brought by taxpayers. This has forced the Revenue to be more cautious.

A taxpayer who is under investigation for tax evasion will agree to attend a voluntary interview under caution with HMRC, which now has over 1,500 officers with the ability to arrest a person. RPC explains that, if the taxpayer is cooperating, the Revenue should not ordinarily exercise their power of arrest.

Adam Craggs, partner at RPC, says: “There has been some criticism of HMRC for being too ‘trigger happy’ in the past – fewer arrests could be a sign that HMRC is now exercising its powers of arrest more responsibly and in accordance with the law.”

“If HMRC has taken that criticism on board and is now being more thorough before deciding to make an arrest, then that is to be welcomed.”

The average prison sentence length for tax evasion in the UK is now more than two and a half years.

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 Beavis Morgan 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 usual Beavis Morgan Partner.