HMRC aims to save £2.4bn by targeting avoidance

hmrc building

HM Revenue &
expects to cut tax losses by an additional £2.4bn over the next
year, mainly by targeting tax avoidance.

This week the department said it plans to spend £1bn on enforcement and
compliance in 2009/10, one-quarter of its total budget. Leslie Strathie, chief
executive of HMRC, said it needed to ‘do more with less’ in response to the

HMRC said it would cut tax evasion through legislation to close tax avoidance
schemes, using new technology and ‘streamlining’ procedures.

Tax experts said HMRC’s increased focus on tax avoidance meant it was
important for advisers to keep up with new tax rules and penalties for

Mike Down, tax investigations partner at
, said HMRC’s forecast needs to be viewed in the context of the new
powers and penalties regime effective from 1 April. ‘The tax profession is
learning all this, but it’s different to how it’s applied in practice,’ he said.

Andrew Green, tax partner at RSM Bentley Jennison, said: ‘People have to sit
up and take note. There’s a definitive tightening of attitude.’

John Whiting, tax policy director at the
Chartered Institute of
, said new legislation would increase stress levels for tax
advisers, who are already struggling to cope with recent changes to the tax

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