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27 Aug 2013 03:41pm

HMRC property raids surge

HMRC carried out 445 property raids in the last year as its more aggressive approach tax evasion continues

This is more than double the number of property raids that HMRC undertakes in a normal year, with the sharp rise owing to pressure created by increased targets, according to law firm Pinsent Masons. 

Jason Collins, head of tax at Pinsent Masons, said, “We have seen almost no easing in the pace of HMRC property raids and arrests are actually continuing to rise.”

“To keep up with its criminal prosecutions target, HMRC is no longer reserving its tougher tactics for just the very biggest evaders. It is increasingly targeting middle class professionals suspected of cheating HMRC out of smaller sums and so they are increasingly likely to be on the receiving end of HMRC’s raids,” added Collins.

In April, it was revealed HMRC saw a 53% increase in prosecutions for tax fraud.

Last year the number of prosecutions launched jumped to 240 from 157 in 2011. The number of arrests also went up, by 7% to 151, as did the number of individuals convicted of tax fraud, up 4% from 148 to 154.

Since extra funding was announced in the 2010 Budget to enable HMRC to tackle tax avoidance and tax evasion, the number of arrests for tax fraud has increased by 44%.

Pinsent Masons also says that HMRC has recently moved on to investigating police officers.

The Revenue is reported to have written to chief constables to request lists of police officers who have business interests outside of work. HMRC is now said to be checking that those police have declared any external income that they make.

Raymond Doherty

 

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