Taxman scoops £373m in high net worth haul

by Kevin Reed

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17 Feb 2010

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The taxman's tax from high net worth individuals has catapulted in the last year, according to figures obtained by lawyers McGrigors.

HM Revenue & Customs recouped 360% more in tax from enquiries into wealthy taxpayers over the past five years. Yield last year (2008/2009) was £373m, compared to £81m a year earlier.

The tax take was made by its Expat and Complex Personal Returns teams, which have now been replaced by the High Net Worth unit.

Phil Berwick, director of tax investigations at McGrigors, said: “The significant increase in yield indicates that HMRC view these groups of taxpayers as fertile ground for enquiries. The complexity of the UK tax system makes it increasingly difficult for foreign nationals coming to the UK and wealthy UK individuals to comply with the rules.”

"Many of the foreign nationals and wealthy UK individuals are investment bankers and hedge fund managers. Many have sought to shelter some or all of their earnings from the UK taxman by using tax avoidance schemes. These schemes are now coming under sustained attack from HMRC.”

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