TaxAdministrationSerious tax evasion cases down by more than a fifth

Serious tax evasion cases down by more than a fifth

Recorded number of serious tax evasion cases drops 23%

SERIOUS TAX EVASION cases identified by HM Revenue & Customs has dropped nearly a quarter over the last 12 months.

In 2011/12, there were 3,456 suspected cases, the lowest number for five years and down 23% on the 4,506 identified in 2010/11, according to figures obtained by law firm, Pinsent Masons.

HMRC defines a case as ‘serious’ where £50,000 or more has been evaded, or when prosecution is possible.

The firm believes HMRC’s anti-fraud measures are behind the decline, with the taxman more than doubling its property raids over the same period – up from 196 to 499 last year.

Public and media concern over tax evasion and avoidance has grown in recent years. However, Phil Berwick, director at Pinsent Masons, said the fall “doesn’t really gel with the idea there is a substantial and growing threat to public spending”.

Instead he points to the recent case of Surrey plumber Melvyn Careswell, who evaded £50,000 in taxes and was sentenced to one year in jail following an HMRC criminal prosecution.

Berwick said: “A few years ago, a £50,000 tax evasion case would almost certainly have been subject to civil, rather than criminal prosecution.

“HMRC is now prepared to use its strongest anti-evasion measures in cases that would previously have been regarded as quite modest in size.”

Related Articles

European inquiry into Panama Papers receives go-ahead

Administration European inquiry into Panama Papers receives go-ahead

2y Fraser Simpson, Reporter
Queen's Speech: Millions of pension savings protected by new legislation

Administration Queen's Speech: Millions of pension savings protected by new legislation

2y Fraser Simpson, Reporter
Panama commits to share financial account information

Administration Panama commits to share financial account information

2y Richard Crump, Writer
HMRC production order demands cause headaches for practices

Accounting Firms HMRC production order demands cause headaches for practices

2y Fraser Simpson, Reporter
Stop shifting profits to tax havens, UN urges

Administration Stop shifting profits to tax havens, UN urges

2y Fraser Simpson, Reporter
Government pressure driving HMRC's scatter gun approach to criminal investigations

Administration Government pressure driving HMRC's scatter gun approach to criminal investigations

2y Accountancy Age, Reporters
Bermuda falls in line with OECD tax reporting agreement

Administration Bermuda falls in line with OECD tax reporting agreement

2y Fraser Simpson, Reporter
Tax vacancies increase following transparency pressures

Administration Tax vacancies increase following transparency pressures

2y Fraser Simpson, Reporter