TaxPersonal TaxHMRC tax investigations count rises significantly

HMRC tax investigations count rises significantly

FOI request finds tax investigations rose sharply over past year, but HMRC claims measurement methodology has changed

THE NUMBER of people being investigated by the HM Revenue & Customs has doubled in one year, figures disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act show.

HMRC made inquiries about the tax affairs of 237,215 people last year, compared with about 119,000 in 2011/12.

The number of self-employed people investigated has quadrupled in that time while annual prosecutions have risen sevenfold in three years.

Rather than reflective of any particular campaign, HMRC said the jump is a result of changes in reporting methodology – in particular results from systems that were previously reported separately were now reported within their relevant regime, and the introduction of the case flow system, which altered the basis on which cases were counted.

An HMRC spokesman said: “Most of the increase in personal tax enquiries is due to changes in how we calculate the numbers of enquires carried out. Enquiries are only opened where we believe there may be a problem causing the wrong tax to be paid.”

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