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Evasion raids on rise

30 June 2015
Issue: 4507 / Categories: News , evasion , raids , Investigations

HMRC casting net wider, warns legal expert

The number of raids on properties in the course of tax evasion investigations has increased by almost a fifth, according to legal experts.

HMRC swooped on 593 homes and business premises in 2014/15, marking a rise of 18.6% from the 500 in the previous 12-month period, says law group Pinsent Masons. The figures show a marked upturn in raids over recent years, with only 196 having been conducted during 2010/11.

The Revenue is under pressure from the government to increase the number of criminal prosecutions for evasion, noted Pinsent Masons tax director Paul Noble.

“Raids are labour-intensive work but needed in such investigations.  A non-criminal enquiry is much more cost-effective, but does not always send the deterrent message HMRC wish to convey,” he added.

The number of custodial sentences given out in cases of evasion has also grown significantly, rising by nearly 30% from 171 in 2011 to 220 in 2014, although the average sentence length dropped over the same period, from 41.3 months to 17.7.

The statistics suggest that tax investigators have cast their net wider, claimed Noble.

“The Revenue is no longer focusing narrowly on high net-worth individuals and those guilty of the most serious evasion. It is targeting a broad range of taxpayers and refusing to let those suspected of more minor offences slip through the cracks.”

Issue: 4507 / Categories: News , evasion , raids , Investigations
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