HMRC updates tax fugitives’ gallery

HM REVENUE AND CUSTOMS has updated its rouges’ gallery of alleged tax fraudsters in a bid to collect hundreds of millions of pounds of lost revenue, despite last year’s campaign yielding few convictions.

One year on since the first list of the UK’s 20 most wanted tax dodgers was published, the taxman has added a further ten individuals to the list, who are wanted for a range of crimes, including VAT fraud, evasion and money laundering.

Though only two people from the original list have been captured since the rogues’ gallery, which contains images and information on 30 tax fugitives, was first published, HMRC said it gained new intelligence on the whereabouts of 17 of the alleged offenders.

Anthony Judge, who was wanted for his role in over £350,000 of tax fraud and has been on the run for ten years, was detained at Heathrow Airport last month as he attempted to enter the UK on a forged passport.

In May, John Nugent was apprehended in the US after the authorities saw the list.

The new people on the list have cost the taxpayer between £120,000 and £10m, HMRC said.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “Our message is clear; tax fraud and evasion is illegal and absolutely unacceptable. The government has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in HMRC’s enforcement activities to enable them to pursue tax cheats like these relentlessly.

Gary Ashford, member at Kinetic Partners and representative of the CIoT, said the list tended to focus on customs fraud as opposed to direct tax matters, which still appear to addressed much more via the civil route.

Nevertheless, Ashford said there are “more direct taxes criminal investigations and certainly a significant number of offshore evasion cases being taken up as HMRC start to work their way through all the data they have amassed in the last few years.”

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