Serious tax evasion cases rose by 8% in 2015/16 as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) referred some 2,972 suspected cases for specialist investigation, according to research from law firm Pinsent Masons.
HMRC received a grant of £800 million to invest in compliance and tax evasion in the 2015 Summer Budget, with the aim of recovering £7.2 billion in unpaid tax by the start of 2020.
Pinsent Masons predicts that there will be an average of 100 prosecutions per year due to the increased budget – a figure that would result in prosecutions tripling within the next five years.
Fiona Fernie, a partner at Pinsent Masons, said: ‘HMRC is using increasingly sophisticated tools and techniques to uncover wrongdoing – from closer liaison with overseas tax authorities to cutting-edge data analytics which can flag up anomalies or trends within the information that HMRC and other Government agencies hold’.
The law firm also puts the increased activity from HMRC down to the public anger regarding high-profile, controversial tax cases such as the ‘Panama Papers’ and increased political pressure to crack down on tax evasion and avoidance.
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