After stepping up their campaign against tax avoidance over the last year, HMRC have reported a number of successes in closing down offshore schemes and also increasing their overall tax revenue. Their latest announcement reveals that the revenue have raised more than half a billion in extra tax by targeting the UK wealthiest people.
It was reported earlier this year that worldwide, more than $21 trillion is hidden in secret tax havens by the super rich, highlighting that whilst there is a large tax gap to target, it could be a difficult and long winded job for HMRC. They set up the High Net Worth Unit (HNWU) three years ago to deal with 5,000 of the wealthiest UK taxpayers, and have brought in an additional £500 million, surpassing the initial £300 million target.
Head of the HNWU, Martin Randall, described their work over the last 3 years; “When we set up the unit we expected to bring in about £100 million a year but, in 2011-12, the tax yield from our intervention work hit £200 million, up from £162 million in 2010-11 and £83 million in 2009-10. And we have brought in £80 million so far this year.”
He continued; “The tax affairs of the richest people in the country are, by their nature, complex, and that’s why we have focused resources on getting their tax right. The majority of the wealthiest taxpayers play by the rules, paying the right tax at the right time, but we take action against the minority who don’t.”
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