Crime investigations launched from tax amnesties

SIXTEEN criminal investigations have stemmed from the various tax amnesties, Accountancy Age has been told.

At the compliance reform forum yesterday, HM Revenue & Customs said that the Offshore Disclosure Facility and New Disclosure Opportunity have yielded £485m – £400m from the ODF and £85m from the NDO – from 50,500 voluntarily disclosures.

The ODF also raised £91m and the NDO £6m through subsequent investigations. There are 3,000 ongoing enquiries, HMRC told tax professionals, and 10 criminal investigations.

The Tax Health Plan, targeted at medics, brought in £10m through 1,500 disclosures. Since the amnesty ended, the Taxman has begun 500 enquiries and  six criminal investigations.

Gary Ashford, national head of tax risk at RSM Tenon and the CIoT’s representative on the forum, said: “It is now clear that HMRC’s intention to increase prosecutions fivefold is now well and truly underway. I said some time ago I felt that the number of disclosures from medics was low and that the medical profession had thrown down the gauntlet to HMRC. Well, HMRC has picked up that gauntlet.

“In relation to offshore, again HMRC is now taking a very tough line. I think their additional yield looks respectable.”

An HMRC spokesman said: “HMRC has now successfully launched two major campaigns to address significant risk areas for HMRC such as offshore tax evasion. Campaigns are focused on changing customer behaviour and bringing more people into compliance in a simple, straightforward way and keeping them there.

“Several thousand more offshore-related enquiries related to the NDO and the information collected from banks by HMRC on offshore customers have already started.”

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