HMRC fraud investigation team collected £5.47bn in extra tax equaling 7% rise on last year

HMRC fraud investigation team collected £5.47bn in extra tax equaling 7% rise on last year

HMRC looking to expand further on the 13% increase from civil investigations

HMRC fraud investigation team collected £5.47bn in extra tax equaling 7% rise on last year

HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service (FIS) has been in place since 2015, to tackle the highest-value cases of suspected tax evasions or fraud.

According to the international law firm, Pinsent Masons, FIS has collected £5.47bn in 2018. This is a 7% increase on last year – a difference of £300m. This comes after political pressure to increase the number of successful tax prosecutions in both the UK and abroad.

In July of this year, HMRC published a consultation document, focusing on changes that could simplify the process of accessing taxpayer information through third parties, such as accountants, retailers, and social media platforms. The report suggested that the removal of having to go through a tribunal before securing this third-party information would help with increasing the efficiency of the process.

The FIS has certainly proven to be effective since it has been in effect. Some high-profile cases involving the FIS in the past year include an organised crime group in Glasgow. They were accused of benefit and mortgage fraud, as well as money laundering, all worth up to £4.6m.

Steven Porter, Partner at Pinsent Masons, said: “HMRC has thrown serious weight behind its elite team of tax investigators, which now seems to be paying off given the overall increase in revenue.

“It is clear that HMRC is doing more than ever to try to root out tax evasion – including asking for a relaxation on some independent checks on their civil powers.

“Although we think it is pretty impressive that the amount they are collecting is still rising there are those in the Treasury who want more. Some see HMRC’s compliance teams as a magic porridge pot that will keep producing – no matter what. But, to do that, HMRC argues that it needs ever more sweeping powers – and without the oversight, the checks and balances that helped ensure HMRC acted in a fair and proportionate manner.”

The FIS seems to be a very effective weapon wielded by HMRC, sending out a strong message to tax evaders.

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