Friday, 15 April 2016

1,100 tax dodger prosecutions

Here is the counterblast from HM Revenue & Customs, in the face of today's attack from MPs on the Public Accounts Select Committee, accusing officials of not doing enough to tackle tax fraud...

HMRC says it has 1,100 prosecutions of tax dodgers in the pipeline.

Last year it secured 1,200 prosecutions, resulting in prison sentences of 407 years.

Those prosecuted included barristers, accountants, lawyers, bankers, medical consultants, people hiding money offshore, money launderers and smugglers.

Two out of five of those convicted had dodged more than £50,000 of tax.

So what about the criticism that HMRC only has 35 wealthy people either in court or waiting to be prosecuted for tax evasion, despite having 26,000 staff working on enforcement and compliance?

Well, the figure is correct, but the explanation from the tax office is that all of the 35 have wealth of at least £1m.

In other words, the number isn't as small as it looks because the people involved are from a tiny proportion of the population.

Critics will, no doubt, say that this is exactly the well-off part of the population which tax officials need to concentrate on, to make it clear that no one gets an easy ride.

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